Sunday, 26 January 2014


Wow another full on week at work, which meant it flew by without me hardly noticing. The highlight of the working week was undoubtedly the arrival of a nice large box with our new coffee machine - whoop whoop!

So happy with it. The previous week Mr P and I had looked at some at a  similar price in John Lewis and they were very plasticky (sorry probably invented a word here!). I spent a relatively long time researching machines and reading many many reviews and opted for this one. As well as excitement when the box arrived there was some trepidation - "Had I made the right choice and will it work properly?" I need not have worried. This is a great solid machine which delivers, very importantly, wonderful coffees! Long live this machine and I hope it will be happy living with us - we promise to look after you, lovve you and never not use!

Friday night Mr P had invited the youngish people from church around for a Chinese take away. Well actually looking again at the menu it is Cantonese and Peking cuisine. Our local take away is amazing and never fails to deliver perfection - Marchee Wok. They do not have a website - guess they do not need to, word of mouth is enough. Well there was a bit of a confusion regarding the time everyone should arrive and people started coming from 7pm to 8pm.! But by 8pm all 19 of us were squashed into our living room to a table filled with delicious dishes and an aroma to die for. We were expecting 15 people and ordered food for that quantity but in true Marchee Wok style there was ample and with a bit left over for a YMCA meal (yesterdays meal come again).

We had a great evening and ended up playing articulate to very late. I crawled into bed at midnight not able to stay up as late - well I am becoming a middle aged crinkley!

Saturday Mr P and I had an amazing day of full on activities. This was the first of my monthly challenges and I decided to make the most of the day. It started with Mr P having to go and hire a car as he is off to Northumberland, to the cottage, for a few days. He has to be there for BT to install the phone and wifi - hopefully they will turn up as it should have happened in December and they failed to deliver. In fact they have let us down so many times that they almost owe us money now!!!!!!! Oh well enough of that topic and lets get going.

We started off with a sausage and egg sandwich to set us up for the day and then a drive to Lichfield. Should say at this point Mr P had no idea what we were doing. We went and visited Lichfield Cathedral.

 We got there in time for the Eucharist. Seemed a good and right thing to do. I love the architecture, the lines of the building. I am afraid I am very ignorant on this subject but I know what I like.

If you find yourself near Lichfield then please do go and visit the cathedral, you will not be disappointed. I'd love to go to a concert there, must look out for one.

Then we headed off to Samuel Johnson's House. This was the home where he was born. I did not know much about him and sadly I did not take any photographs of the house. Should say when we arrived the weather had deteriorated and we were glad to get inside. Whilst looking around I heard thunder and thought I must be mistaken. It's probably the market stall holders moving something. But blow me the thunder continued and then some lightening followed by a terrific hail storm. Now I'm sure one of you understands weather etc but I didn't think we could have thunder in cold weather? Oh well what do I know! The museum have kept the character of the house and kept the entrance as a book shop. Dr Johnsons' parents ran a bookshop although according to the information it ran at a loss - nothing much changes!

Time for tea/coffee and cake before we head off for a rather different type of activity. Back to the car and off to Tamworth to the Snowdome. I had booked Mr P and I in for half an hour tobogganing! Armed with lots of extra clothing and walking boots we enter this massive complex. Golly sooo many people, so many different activities, suddenly aware of how old we must look to these youngsters. But NO I will no be defeated us oldies too can have fun. I have to say this place is well ordered and operates with military position. From the minute of booking the tickets online the instructions are brilliant. We are told to get ready and sit on the silver benches at a precise time. There we(and I have no idea how many more people) received a warm welcome and safety instructions. Golly when I saw the video of what we were to be doing I was a little scared then looking around the room, full of youngsters, decided I needed to get a grip! Then the moment came to line up and get our toboggans. Up the escalators and up another one. Then the moment came to boldly set foot on the snow and then try and sit into the toboggan. Oh it was such fun. Just as you get going there is a left hand bend so much breaking and learning how to bend to the left. Then before you know it at the bottom and time to go up again. But safety was paramount and on the slopes and on the escalators were staff issuing instructions. Was very impressed with the organisation and running of this concern.

Sadly we only had 5 turns of coming down the slopes but it was great fun.

 After we got changed we went for a mooch around the building. There I saw a wonderful snow play room. I guess for little people - oh it looked such fun and I can envisage us taking our grandchildren there - can't wait for them to be old enough!

Then we headed home for our final bit of fun for the day. Some of you may have been aware that is was Burns Day and so I put together a Burns Supper for us, along with the speeches and some music.  Sorry some of you may not know but Robert Burns was a Scottish poet and every year people celebrate his birth with this special evening. We started off with cock o leekie soup, followed by Mr P standing up for the entrance of the haggis, to piped music. The traditional poem was read and Mr P at the correct time slashed opened the haggis and then we toasted the haggis with some whisky! We ate the haggis with clapshot (mash potato and swede), accompanied with a whisky sauce. This was then followed by cranachan - a pudding made with cream, oats, whisky, honey and raspberries. Speeches were said - toast to the lassies and a toast to the laddies and we finally ended up with the two of us singing - Auld Lang Syne.

Soooo enjoying this new challenge.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Thoughts For The Week.

It has not been the most dynamic week but I guess I have some things to share with you. Sadly the beginning of the week saw the final demise of a faithful friend :(

We have had this coffee machine for about six years. It has been wonderful and given me loads of lovely espressos and lots of great long coffees for Mr P. So decided we would replace it with the same model machine but obviously costing more money. Sadly we ordered it from a lovely family company called   Harts of Stur.
The new machine was delivered prompto but unfortunately it was faulty. Also the quality of the machine was nothing compared to our old friend. Harts were wonderful and arranged for the machine to be collected asap. Hoping to be refunded tomorrow so that we can buy another coffee machine. Planning on getting a Gaggia Classic.  I am exhausted of reading up on so many reviews, suddenly feel an expert. Hope I have made the right choice!

Wednesday saw me take a short walk from an inner city surgery to a stationers. On my way I passed a small primary school. It must have been lunch time as the children were out in the play ground. It struck me then that it doesn't matter where you are in the country or what year we are in the noise from the children remains the same. Such a lovely sound and then it took me back to memories of No 1 child being at primary school. She went to a school in Ealing Broadway, London and the playground backed onto some shops. Sometimes we would have a coffee in the large department store because the upstairs cafe overlooked the playground. It was great watching the children play, also it reassured us that she did have friends to play with.

Saturday Mr P and I went out and had breakfast in Leicester. Great to have this new challenge - to spend more time with each other. Afterwards we went and looked at coffee machines and then had fun in John Lewis trying out their settees. Our settee, which we were given from my parents some years ago, is reaching the end of its life. We are having to put cushions under the seat cushions as they are sooooo flat! Also a lot of the fabric is wearing, fraying etc. There were some lovely sofas but oooh what a price and I have no idea how much the chairs were. So think we will have to start saving up!

Nearly forgot but I have been going around with a smile on my face everytime I think of my grandson - Rowan. He has been started on mixed feeding and has been enjoying trying different foods but not this one!

He did not like the peas! But my daughter thought she'd try them again later on in the week.

Apparently she turned her back for a few seconds and this is what he did with his mushy peas!

Finally you remember me telling you about the shawl I am knitting - well I have at long last finished knitting the rows of the spots.

Yesterday afternoon I started practising the lace edging with some other wool. But oh I just could not get it right! For literally hours I tried and then I started reading comments on the knitting website Ravelry. Lots of people saying they didn't have enough wool and others also struggling over the edging, but no one saying how they ended up solving the problem. Then I discovered there had been a "knit along" for this shawl and eventually someone had posted this helpful web page with a tutorial for doing edgings. Thank you soooo much. The penny dropped with a large bang! I had been trying to do the edging by continuing along the line of knitting whereas in fact you have to knit it at a different angle. Oh I am soooo thick! But I didn't want to give in and do something different like some others have done(not that I blame them).

Ta dah two points completed only another 109 to go! Just hope I have enough wool! Well I have to finish blogging as I now need to go and drive up to Leeds as I have a dentist appointment at 08:30 tomorrow. I am such a baby that I still insist on  going back to the same dentist!

Sunday, 12 January 2014


I don't know whether it is me getting older - but I like the weather to be doing what it should be doing for the appropriate time for each season. To me as it is January then it should be cold and not mild! So when I got up today and saw the frost and the sun shining my heart sang for joy and I opted to walk to church to enjoy the experience.

I know this is just grass and some weeds - but to me they look so exciting covered in their icing sugar!

Read this poem about frost by Brian Kirkham and just loved it.


Frost awaits, till you are asleep
then under cover of cold he'll creep
creating his unique watery grain
and spreading across the window pane

Spreading crystals 'cross the glass
painting windows as minutes pass
creating a most wintry scene
leaving ice in gaps between
Just love the idea of the frost waiting to come out whilst we are asleep!

Golly seeing broken puddles of ice took me back to a memory of childhood - racing to school to break the ice with my wellies!

So great to see winter Jasmine - to see yellow when so much is looking brown and grey / rather drab.

Sorry the photo is out of focus but I thought it rather unusual to be seeing "Pink" berries! Should they not be red?

Back home I notice the first signs of some snowdrops beginning to surface.

I do not know what this bush is called but the chickens like to attack it. Talking of the girlies I was looking back at January 2013 blogs and by this time they had started to lay some eggs. I informed them of this but no action has occurred since I talked to them!

I could not bring myself to chop the Christmas tree up yet as it is still looking so healthy but have decided to start to decorate it outside for the birds!

Finally I thought I'd show you my latest craft project.

I bought the wool and pattern from the wonderful Loop Knitting Shop in Islington, London. Had to get another ball as I ran out but am enjoying this project - except for the fact that it starts with only 3 stitches and ends up with 667 stitches. I'd rather start with the large number and decrease. But hey ho that's the way it is and I shall have the fun of doing the lacy knitting at the end.

Well I can smell my roast chicken dinner cooking and I am being a good wife and steaming Mr P a treacle sponge pudding to go with some delicious custard. So bye for now.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Here We Are A New Year Again.

Golly 2014 has started off rather wet, wild and windy for the UK. Whilst in Berwick we noticed they were preparing for floods. So many places to the western and southern side of the UK have suffered badly with flood damage. But this is probably nothing compared to lots of you in other countries. A friend from Canada said that it was minus 28 with windchill and there were four foot high snowdrifts in her garden! She has a dog whose legs are only six inches long - rather difficult for him to do his business in the garden!

Well closer to home - the decorations have now been tucked neatly away in their boxes ready for next Christmas. The room looked rather bare so I decided to move some furniture around to give it a new lease of life. The Christmas cake is now only a small piece left and the decorations have been washed and ready to be stored away. SADLY we still have some chocolates left! More temptations to eat yummy food when my stomach is saying "for goodness sake eat healthily!"

As I am waiting for some more wool, to be delivered in the post, to continue my shawl knitting I decided it was time for some small creativity. I liked these three Christmas cards (perhaps because we have not had any snow)! So I decided to make a wall hanging! Probably a bit mad - but hey ho!

What I do like about post Christmas is being able to get back into the rhythm of every day life. Although outside all looks gloomy - my twinkling lights, candles help cheer me. At the start of the year I also like to see bulbs growing on my kitchen window sill - reminding me that this weather will not last for ever and spring will come again. 

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year - 2014 and Its New Challenge.

Hi Readers - I am back from my Christmas adventures!

I hope you all were able to enjoy Christmas and have some time to relax. My Christmas was in two very different halves. The first half was spent with all my family coming to stay with us. It was pretty mad with all the bodies squashed into the house, the dog going around hunting for any crumbs dropped and three babies(who were a bit poorly).  Gone are the days when we all sat in a circle enjoying watching each other open their presents. It took us a few days to accomplish this! But oh boy was I a lucky girl I had the most amazing craft books and I had a gorgeous kit to crochet a very special granny square scarf - Bohemian Rhapsody. It comes with 75 different coloured
Lace / 2 ply 100% Merino wool. It took me several afternoon and nights to wind the skeins onto some card. I think it may take me several years to accomplish the scarf - but I think it is a project to enjoy slowly and not one to be raced through.

The babies have all grown - even in one month they look so different. The twin girls did have hats to match their elves outfit! They have such long legs - we're not sure where they get this from as we are all short!

 Rowan is just beginning to sit up.

After several days of time together Mr P and I bade farewell to our children! It was strange leaving them in our home. It was mixed feelings and I cried as I left but also happy to be on our way to our beloved home in Northumberland, to be able to have time to spend together, relax and unwind.

 Popping into the local supermarket we were greeted with some rather odd looking mince pies!

Sadly we only managed one trip to Holy Island (Lindisfarne), the tide times were not very good and then on the last day there were problems with gale force winds and the causeway still being left with much sea water.

Mr P enjoying his very favourite view of St Cuthbert's Island.

I love this view and the light was just soooo gorgeous.
One day when it was not raining we managed a walk in the Lammermuirs and we walked along a lovely valley following Whiteadder Water and went up  Cockburns hill. Here I am rather windswept! But triumphant that we made it up the hill and it did not rain!

 Then my final picture is of Mr P looking down the hill towards the village where our home is.

But Now to my new 2014 challenge.

What is it? Many people have suggested various challenges, such as reading all Agatha Christie books in one year, or making something from every craft book I own etc etc. I thought too about various challenges such as a physical one or going on a diet. All these challenges worth while in their own right but they just didn't excite me until all of a sudden I had a brain wave - I've got it my New Challenge!  

I love my hubby, very much and am very privileged to have such a caring and loving partner. Now he works very hard, being a minister of a church and often works long hours. I also am kept busy with my full time job ( which I love) and home, family, church, hobbies etc. Sometimes it feels as if we do not see much of each other and time together gets squeezed out. So what I have decided as a challenege is in two parts. 
1) That Mr P and I must spend at least one hour a week with each other. 
2) Once a month I am going to organise a day of adventure/mystery for both of us to share.

This may not seem a very demanding challenge, but it will take some planning and also I have decided to fund it I must economise on the shopping bill. I am really looking forward to being creative and the fun we will have together. The challenge has in a way already started as this last week we have had lots of lovely time together - so I consider we've done our hour this week.