Happy Things

Our friend tested negative – she’d picked up a nasty chest infection, which brought on an asthma attack. The two things combined were scary, but we’re all glad she’s OK. We went out that afternoon to buy a few essentials, thinking the shops would be rammed with people and the shelves stripped almost bare. I was dreading going but it was surprisingly quiet, the shelves were full but the freezers were very low on stock. I was thrilled to be able to buy a lettuce, I hadn’t been able to find one for the last three weeks 😀

We had one afternoon of freedom, that evening the PM announced the new rules. The strange thing is, in our case, we can go out more now than we could over that weekend because we were isolating!

There are a small number of idiots who think they can carry on as normal, but I will rant silently about them and concentrate on the good things.

I’ve seen lots of cheery things over the last few days. Our house in on the main road, but walk about fifty feet, turn left and there are no through roads. It’s usually quite quiet but at the moment it’s unusual to spot a moving car. There are kids playing on the street in family groups, supervised by mum or dad. There’s a four-year-old going jogging with his mum, she makes it a bit more interesting for him by playing what I can only describe as a reverse game of hide and seek when they have to turn a corner. The boy almost collapses from laughing when ordered to jog backwards when someone is coming 😀

Then there’s the seven year old on daily bike rides with his mum. The neighbour’s children have drawn rainbows with messages of ‘stay safe!’ on their bedroom windows. People are using extendable leads for their dogs, so the dogs can still greet each while the owners stay a good distance apart.

I can always hear birds, but now I can hear ALL the birds! The sky is almost always clear because there’s only the occasional trail left by a plane. I have daffodils and tulips in the garden. The bee’s buzz suddenly seems very loud. I love hearing the occasional yell, from one neighbour to another – “I’m going out for milk, do you need anything?”.

The girls are getting used to their new smaller space and seem settled. They’re going to love it when the new large run is constructedDSCN1317

Cheerful flower bedDSCN1320

A bee flew in and chose to land on the one flower which had died!DSCN1323

Monday, 6th April 2020 at 5:38 am Leave a comment


We’re in a mini isolation – just four days. We’re supposed to be in Cornwall but were debating whether or not to go. We would’ve actually seen fewer people down there – the cottage is in the middle of nowhere, we’d planned country walks and had no intention of going grocery shopping. But we still felt uneasy about going and we decided to stay home. The next morning (the day before we were supposed to go), Mr MB’s workmate’s wife was rushed into hospital by ambulance, she couldn’t breathe and had a high temperature. The doctor said she had a lot of the symptoms of coronavirus and tested her. After a few hours in hospital, they sent her home and told her (and her household) they must self-isolate. The results won’t be back until tomorrow and as just 12 hours before her husband was in a small office with his workmates, the other staff are to isolate until her results come back.

Missing you, Cornwall. Hopefully we’ll see you in October.


So here we are, stuck in the house. Actually, the others feel stuck but I realised on day one that isolation makes no difference to me whatsoever, I’m doing what I usually do – potter about the house, chat to the chickens, tidy the garden a bit, work on the laptop. I’m still walking Scamp, I’m allowed to do that! But if I see someone on our walk, I cross the road or turn and walk the other way. I saw a friend walking her dog yesterday, we had a shouty conversation across the road 😀

My DIL works in a nursery, as it’s been shut down she has no work for the foreseeable future. She’s a bit worried about not working but is also concerned about the parents who now have no childcare. Topshop has closed so my daughter has no work either. Both of them will be bored within a few days so I’m going to give them a job that’s also a game – go on a toilet roll hunt, there’s a prize for the first person who delivers a pack to me 😀

Here’s something to keep you entertained for a few seconds TOILET ROLL CALCULATOR

Sunday, 22nd March 2020 at 7:13 am Leave a comment

Plans Gone Awry

I love making plans, but hate when something comes along to ruin them! I’d written a seed-sowing plan, sorted the seeds, cleaned the pots and propagators and was waiting for the weekend, when we could go out and buy compost. I was also going to spend a couple of weeks pottering around the garden, tidying, sweeping and weeding. Along comes a storm and ruins my plan for the first weekend. But the rain and wind didn’t stop and a couple more storms happened, I don’t think it stopped raining for three weeks.

We’ve had a couple of decent days, I was going to start my gardening but at the first sign of sunshine, a fox decided to visit. I’ve seen foxes around in the middle of the night so I’m always careful to wait until full daylight to let my chickens out nowadays (I used to let them out the minute the sun started coming up) and I keep an eye on them as soon as the sun starts to go down. It was 11.30am and I happened to glance down the garden. I saw the fox attacking one of the girls, the others had squashed themselves into the corner of the run. There was no noise at all – I always assumed there would be a lot of flapping about and squawking, but they were silent. I ran down to the gate and the fox ran and jumped onto the fence at the end of the garden, we stared at each other for a few seconds before it ran off. There were feathers everywhere and I was sure Matilda must be dead but she didn’t have a scratch on her. Most of her tail feathers are missing and she was very scared (she’s still wary of going outside at the moment) but apart from that, she’s fine.

So we’ve spent the last couple of days constructing a temporary, but very ugly, small run within the large run to keep them safe for now. I need to have a good look around for metal fencing that I can attach a roof to. I know exactly how I want it to look but don’t know if it actually exists 😀

Temp run

Talking of chickens, we adopted a new one a couple of weeks ago. My friend’s dad was driving behind a lorry load of chickens when one escaped. He couldn’t just leave her out there on her own so he parked up and managed to catch her. Once he got home, he realised he had no idea what to do with her! He rang my friend and she rang me, within an hour I had a new girl. Luckily it was dark by then so I put her straight into the shed with the others, they took to her straight away and a couple of days later it was like she’d always been here.


Wednesday, 11th March 2020 at 6:37 am Leave a comment

Hello Again

Almost a year ago I decided to spend a bit less time online. I was reading and writing about things I wanted to do, so much so that I didn’t leave any time to actually do the things 😀 I ended up going completely the other way and not talking to anyone online at all. I crept back onto a couple of forums back in the autumn and I’ve been meaning to continue my ramblings here, so here I am!

We’ve had a bit of a stressy year. Father-in-law had been poorly for a while and he had a few hospital visits, he would become drowsy and couldn’t speak properly. A couple of days in hospital would sort him out, they’d review his medication and he would bounce back. Looking back, he wouldn’t bounce back quite as well as before, but because the change was so immediate each time, he always seemed OK. The last visit a couple of months ago was his final one, there was no improvement at all and he died on the 7th of November.

Before this, we arranged a personal alarm for him. He used it a few times – a couple of times when he shouldn’t have and we had words about what constitutes an emergency! He also had a habit of falling asleep while wearing it. He’d roll onto it during the night, set it off and the alarm company would contact us to say he needed help. We’d turn up, he’d be passed out (so we thought) and we’d try to wake him, phone in hand in case we had to call an ambulance. He’d open his eyes, slighty panicked at intruders looming over him at 2am until he realised it was just us. Then he’d laugh at his mistake. We’d give him stern looks, he’d apologise then laugh again. We fixed a hook on the wall next to his bed, he never hung that alarm on it, I think he did it on purpose and told him so, he just laughed again. At least he never lost his sense of humour, even if his idea of funny was very different to mine 😀

My son and his girlfriend (which sounds a bit teenage-y, so I’ll refer to her as DIL from now on!) bought a house. There was no chain either side so it should’ve been quick and easy. It took MONTHS! The solicitor took ages to request the searches, went on holiday halfway through but didn’t tell them so things were left hanging for a while. Then she had an operation – I do realise I sound heartless here but it was planned so it would’ve been nice to know there would be another delay – then they just stopped communicating for a while. Not just her, the whole firm! The sellers solicitors couldn’t get them to cooperate either. Eventually everything was done and they finally became homeowners on the 20th of November.

The run up to Christmas was a rush. Father-in-law needed a post mortem so we didn’t know when the funeral would be. We decided on a celebration service that everyone could come to, then we’d have a private cremation when we could. The PM was done quickly so we ended up with the private service days before the celebration! It was lovely actually and the family were pleased it turned out this way. We felt we could include family jokes that wouldn’t be appreciated by others – and maybe even could’ve seemed disrespectful – then we went for a meal at the local carvery. The eating area was busy and we wouldn’t have been able to all sit together, the staff told us to grab three tables near the windows in the bar. The way the place is set up, we ended up having what felt like a private area to ourselves. It was decorated for Christmas, the food was lovely and I think Father-in-law would’ve been pleased with it.

So with two services to arrange, lots of stressy phone calls from son and DIL and Christmas to organise, it was a slighty stressy and rushed time! I was glad when Christmas Eve finally arrived, I didn’t really relax until then and by Boxing Day I felt very happy but also a bit flat, I’ve been so used to running about lately that I didn’t quite know what to do with myself, lol.

I celebrated New Year’s Eve by falling asleep on the sofa before 10pm, I don’t think I’ve been properly awake since then! I’ve started writing in my diary, I use one everyone year but this year I need it more than ever to get some sort of routine back 😀


Sunday, 5th January 2020 at 7:13 am 2 comments

2019 – So Far, So Good

This is my year. I know this because my diary says so 😀


So what am I going to do with it? I have no idea, except whatever I do won’t be done in a hurry. I’ve spent the first few weeks just pottering – doing jobs that need doing without planning anything, just going with the flow. My only rule for this year is No Rushing. Take my time. Stop worrying, just get on with things as and when they need doing and everything will work out just fine.

Scampi has taken to sitting in the corner of the kitchen, trying not to do the splits, while hoping I’ll give him a bit of whatever food I’m cooking.

Scampi kitchen

Mornings involve ambling around the local area with Scampi. There’s not many people about so walks are calm (unless he spies a cat!) and he’s very relaxed when we arrive home, which sets him up for a good day. Shorter days mean the chickens are in their shed for longer, so it needs cleaning out more often. Instead of just doing what needs doing then coming back into the house, I spend about 15 minutes pottering about in their run, tidying and raking. Chickens deserve a nice garden too 😀 They’ve started laying again so we have lovely fresh eggs.


We’ve had a couple of snowy days, this is very exciting for me because it doesn’t happen often! There was around three inches of the stuff lying on the ground one morning – and it only lasted for a day – but I couldn’t wait to go out in it. Scampi loved it and was like a chld, he didn’t want to walk in other people’s footprints, he wanted to go into the fresh stuff where he stomped and kicked it up 😀


I am a houseplant killer, I just can’t keep them alive. But I was given a Christmas amaryllis bulb so I planted it, said a prayer and it now looks like this. I just hope I can keep it alive, at least until it flowers. It looks a bit pale to me.


Sunday, 17th February 2019 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Cornwall 2018

Cornwall was fabulous, as usual! On our way down, we decided to drive across Dartmoor. There was a sheep sat right in the middle of the road. Cars were carefully driving around her, she wasn’t bothered in the slightest and carried on chewing while watching them go past. But it didn’t occur to anyone to get out of their car and move her along a bit. A job for us then! We parked up and walked over slowly, as we got close she stood up and ambled away. People are careful around the animals, and the animals are used to traffic so she probably would’ve been fine but I secretly like to think we saved her 😀

We stayed at Tinners Cottage It was lovely and we’ll definitely book it again. We had to block the steps to the higher part of the garden though, Scampi went up there and managed to get onto the garage roof 😀

Scampi was pretty good, he was much more sociable than on previous holidays. We ate ice cream at Callestick Farm  – and I mean we ate ice cream at the farm. Scampi was perfectly calm while we sat and ate, he knew we were going to give him the tubs to lick when we’d finished 😀 We walked near the animals and he met the pigs, he’s always liked pigs and says a polite hello through the fence. We walked along lots of beaches and spent quite a bit of time at Golitha Falls We still can’t walk around the shops with him without military precision planning, we have a quick look at the area then have conversations that start like this – “You take him over there for an amble while I pop into this shop, then we’ll swap so you can browse the all-important beer shop” then I scoop a handful of treats out of my pocket to give to Mr MB in case of a barky emergency, because he almost always forgets to fill his pockets before we go out 😀

ice cream


Instead of packing up and heading straight home on our last day, we visited Golitha Falls again and went for a walk with friends and their two dogs. Luckily Scampi likes them, lol. When we got back to the car park, we dried the dogs off and had breakfast at Inkie’s Smokehouse We’d heard good things about this place, so I ordered a bacon sandwich, expecting a really nice bacon sandwich. It was amazing (yes, a bacon sandwich really can be amazing!) – thick sliced sourdough bread, lots of lovely smoked bacon and the bread was buttered, no nasty margarine in sight. It filled me up for the day, I didn’t eat again til 8pm. I’ll definitely visit again.


We’re home now and I can put my garden plan into action. There’s so much to sort and tidy, we also have to move a couple of raised beds to work on the fence and there’s a huge tree overhanging our garden, the owner refuses to do anything about it (well she says she will, then doesn’t) so we’re going to chop at it ourselves 😀

The veg patch has been checked, we’ve pulled up some beetroot and picked the last of the tomatoes and cucumbers.


I realised yesterday that I have a couple of comments on previous posts – I’m not ignoring anyone, I promise! I used to get notifications but I didn’t have any for these, I’ll check my settings to make sure it doesn’t happen again.


Wednesday, 10th October 2018 at 7:45 am 3 comments


Autumn is my favourite season. It’s warm during the day and cool in the mornings and evenings. The trees look amazing. Walks are enjoyed much more and I arrive home still feeling fresh and full of energy, rather than drained and looking like I’ve spent an hour in a sauna, lol. And I go to Cornwall – this year we’re staying on the edge of Bodmin Moor, near Golitha Falls which is one of my favourite inland places.

I’ve packed some crochet supplies, I want some little gift bags for Christmas so I have red, green and white yarn to play with. I want some reading time too, I’m halfway though a book at the moment and I’d like to finish it while we’re away.

My fantasy of sitting outside little cafes next to the sea never quite works out, Scampi takes offence if people come too close, so while I hope we’ll be able to do this at least once, it probably won’t happen. We’ll take flasks to a quiet spot on the beach instead.

Look at that sweet face, surely he wouldn’t bark at people for no apparent reason, would he? 😀

Scampi kong

Friday, 28th September 2018 at 8:28 am 2 comments


Scampi is still nervous sometimes. He will glance at a certain dog one day and ignore it, want to meet it another day, will greet it shyly for a few days then on our next walk will throw a tantrum if on the lead and will run away to the bushes if he’s off the lead. There are a few dogs he refuses to meet at all, I have to turn and go back the way we came to make sure there’s no barky tantrum. I’m pretty good at reading him so we manage to avoid most stressy situations. I haven’t heard any local gossip but I’m quite sure we have a reputation! But it makes my day when someone on a pushbike sails past, grins and says “oh look at him, he’s so much better!”. This has happened a few times lately, sometimes I don’t remember ever seeing the person before – I’m probably too busy concentrating on calming doggy nerves to take time to look at the person’s face, lol.

But he does have some doggy friends (he does, I promise!), and he loves seeing them. George next door, who he chats to through the front gate as we walk past. Betty on the other side of us, who he chats to through the fence. Arthur up the road, who he likes to walk with if we bump into them while we’re out. Stripe, who he plays ball with – no humans allowed, they throw the ball to each other. Ted and Mabel, who he runs around the house with (our house or theirs, they don’t mind as long as they’re indoors). He likes to hang out in the kitchen with Shep. Penny lives round the corner, they end up playing in her front garden if she’s out there when we walk past. Molly, who he’ll only approach and play with if they’re both off the lead. If either of them have a lead clipped to their collar, he won’t go near her and is quite vocal about it. Paddy, who he’s wary of but will still say hello to if they’re both off-lead. Pearl and Ruby, who he doesn’t see very often because they live in Cornwall but he loves seeing them when we visit.

His best friend is Milo. Although he has specific things he likes to do with his other friends, with Milo he will do all them. They’ve had one argument – over a squeaky ball. Milo loves squeaky toys, Scampi hates them. So us humans make sure there are no squeaks when they’re together. They wrestle, run, play, sit and lie together, steal each other’s food and come over to demand a treat together – without being told, they sit at exactly the same time.


There are a few other dogs locally that he was terrified of, but his reactions have gone from complete panic to a quiet growl then silence while watching them from a distance.

Cats. Just no. I am never going to get him to accept that cats live on this planet. He hates them with a passion and his behaviour when he spots one is appalling – imagine a cross between the spinning cartoon tasmanian devil and a velociraptor and you get the idea. Most of the time I spot a cat before he does (my eyes are constantly scanning the area for them) and I have to turn him around and walk the other way.

Practising not barking at passers-by at the window, current success rate – 50%


Mooching about at the park

Scampi park 2

Relaxing after a hard day of play

Scampi patio

Wednesday, 12th September 2018 at 8:07 am 4 comments


August flew by so quickly. I had lots of plans but time just seemed to disappear and my to-do list is still very long. I tried to write a pattern for those sunflowers – I imagined a long post with clear instructions and lots of photos – but it’s just not working out that way! The more I tried the less sense it made, at one point I ended up with a cross between a pattern and a tutorial that made no sense at all 😀 I’m so annoyed, especially as these are so easy to make. I also took lots of photos but they didn’t come out very well at all. I’ve a written it out as best I can, I’ll keep working on it (and those photos!). I’m going to give it it’s own Pattern category, work on it some more and hopefully I’ll end up with a beautifully constructed, makes-complete-sense post.

So here it is –

I used Stylecraft Special DK, Sunshine for the petals, Walnut for the middle and Bottle for the back. I used a size 4 hook. The flower measures 4.5 inches across.

The flower centres are made by working between the stitches, rather than into the top of them. Make two of these, one Walnut and one Bottle

Round 1 – ch2, 7tr into a magic ring (8 stitches)

Round 2 – ch2, tr in same space, 2tr in spaces all round (16 stitches)

Round 3 – ch2, tr in same space, tr in next space, then 2tr, tr all round (24 stitches)

With Sunshine yarn, work into the front loops only of the Walnut circle –
Into 1st stitch – dc, tr, ch2, sl st into 2nd ch from hook
Into 2nd stitch – tr, dc
Repeat all round (12 petals)

Using Sunshine yarn, dc through the back loops of the Walnut circle and both loops of the Bottle circle to join them together (dc, dc, 2dc – repeat all round – 32 stitches). Before it’s completely closed, push a little stuffing in.

Through both loops using Sunshine yarn, make another round of petals –
Into 1st stitch – dc, tr, ch2, sl st into 2nd ch from hook
Into 2nd stitch – tr, dc
Repeat all round (16 petals)


We’ve had plenty of food from the garden. I’ve been chopping/slicing/spiralising/freezing/pickling and eating tomatoes, chives, courgettes, cucumbers, runner beans, potatoes, salad leaves, aubergines, carrots, shallots, onions, radishes, garlic, sugar snap peas and beetroot.



tomatoes and garic

sugar snap peas

chopped tomatoes

aubergine, garlic and marrow



Friday, 7th September 2018 at 8:59 am 2 comments

Lovely Lovely Rain!

I can’t cope with hot weather at all. I want to be one of those people who loves being out in the sunshine, having a stroll down the canal while eating an ice-cream or sitting on a bench in the park while reading a book. I’m not just imagining this, I’ve seen people actually do these things. And they do it while looking as fresh as a daisy. I have very pale skin so will start to burn within half an hour of being outside, even with a high factor sunscreen smeared all over me. And I constantly feel like I need a shower, even though I had one just two hours ago. I’m in a permanent state of wilt, my brain isn’t functioning properly and I can’t concentrate on anything for too long. I’m just not built for the summer 😀

We’ve had a few days where the mornings start off relatively cool, I’ve tried to get the housework done then (I don’t want to, but needs must!). I feel very proud of myself for making the effort each time, then it gets to around 10am and I start to wilt again. Crocheting my blanket is impossible so I’ve been playing around with small projects. Even those are difficult, just working with yarn makes me feel hot and it’s hard work.

But this morning at 5am I woke up to the sound of rain, I was so pleased and jumped out of bed just to look at it. But it was dark and I couldn’t see a thing. This was the view of my garden an hour later – grey skies and rain. Lovely 😀


I managed a few more rows on my blanket a couple of weeks ago but haven’t touched it since.  I’ve just discovered a mistake – when I start a row of what I call ordinary stitches (a row of trebles, half trebles or dc), I do the chain then work the next stitch into the same place. This gives a perfectly straight edge – when you’re turning the work. I carried on working the rows in my usual way, forgetting to take into account that I’m not turning it and now I have wonky bits. I’ll keep it in mind from now on and hope that when the border is done, it doesn’t show. Much 😀

Gardening is being done late at night or early in the morning, I’m not stepping foot in the back garden once the sun has come round. We’ve eaten plenty of strawberries, salad leaves, carrots, cucumbers and courgettes. The potatoes are looking good and we’ve managed to grow a melon. The melon is tiny at the moment, I have no idea if it’ll ripen properly in the UK but I’m just pleased it’s grown at all. The tomatoes have gone into a state of suspended animation – will they ever ripen? I’ve plaited some onions and have hung them on the side of the shed, when I sit out there under my little shelter in the shade, I look at them and feel very Pioneer Woman.

I’ve come up with a crochet pattern for sunflowers, I’ve searched and can’t find the same thing anywhere so it’s safe to say it’s mine! I wrote it in my own weird way and have tried to write it out properly but I didn’t realise how difficult it would be – hats off to pattern writers everywhere 😀 I want to make stalks but I haven’t decided how I want them to look yet, for now they’re balancing on sticks from old reed diffusers.

blanket progress


green tomatoes





Saturday, 28th July 2018 at 12:14 pm 5 comments

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September 2020

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