Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

The boy is born!  Hallelujah!

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

The dinner is in the oven, the presents are unwrapped and being investigated, the girls are watching a film, and we are all together, at home, with a warm fire and plenty of food - how very blessed we are!

See you in 2017......

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


Here I sit, with twinkling lights decorating the windowsill, folk going past in the their cars taking the kids to school, the news on the tv in the background and thinking about getting ready to go off to work in under an hour. I realised last night that I haven't been here for about six weeks, and I was overdue for a catch-up.  If you are still reading, even with my long absences, I thank you.

Gratitude has long been part of my life now and I started an Advent theme on my Facebook posts with that idea at its heart. Each day I am posting a few words about things for which I am grateful that day. In all the hustle and busy-ness of getting ready for Christmas, I wanted to stop and be content with what I have now, rather than always looking forward to what will come in the future.  Anticipation is good, but so is contentment in the now.

Angels have been a huge part of my life in the last month - we have "Angels and anticipation" as our Advent theme for church and circuit life this year, so we have had Angel festivals, angel plays, angel Messy Churches - I am just about done with angels for one year, and we are joking that our theme next year will be "Silent Night" so that we can be quiet and reflective instead.

Only five more sleeps and then the EFG will be home from Aberdeen for Christmas. She has another exam tomorrow and then some socialising before she comes home on Saturday - can't wait!  Really looking forward to having her here for three weeks.

I hope you are all keeping well, and life continues peacefully.  I shall get round to reading more blogs sometime soon, but not this week!  Someone jokingly said that I would get a rest soon, but I can't see one coming until after Christmas lunch - but I shall be ready for it by then.  There are troubles in the circuit and lots of work to be done even in the New Year so we need to have a break and recharge our batteries over the Christmas holiday.  The boss is taking the workers to Norwich to see Mamma Mia in February so we are looking forward to that immensely as our staff day out!

Much love, as always x

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A good day for a catch up

All Saints' Day was the patronal festival of the church in which I grew up, so it does mean something to me for that reason, if no other. It's hard to sort all these saints out, and sometimes easier just to think of them all!

This past month has been a challenging one.......the YFG has been to Aberdeen to have a look at the geography department, and loved the uni, but thought it would only be ideal if it were closer to home. It's on her list, but UEA at Norwich is looking as if it might be the favourite.  She went there for a Geography Summer School in July and got on really well, so hopefully she might score a place there.

The EFG came home for the weekend and just went back yesterday - we had lunch with Grandypops whilst she was here, and we generally had a good weekend together.  She's doing well, and has to keep her nose to the grindstone for another 7 weeks now until the Christmas break.

The FH's best mate died at the end of the week before last, and we have his funeral this week.  He was an amazing old gentleman, who lived almost 86 years but his last days were spent at home, as he wanted, in the busy household with his daughter and her family. I have had the privilege of supporting them through this time, and taking the funeral.  He and the FH went on all sorts of adventures together, and we are sure that they are together again now.

The FH's son has been and FINALLY taken the FH's old banger of a car away!  That feels like a major achievement in life, and the old car is no longer cluttering up the gravel driveway at the back of the house. Next step is to get a skip in and clear out some more rubbish.......whether he will ever clear out the tools and machinery that the FH left him from the workshop is another matter...

Financially, as we approach the end of the year, I am relieved to see from the charts that we are just over £2000 up in addition to the new-to-us car which I bought in March, so doing very well at saving again this year.  Frugality has its moments, and we are looking ahead to the time next August when the bereaved parents' allowance, the child benefit and the tax credits all end as the YFG will turn 18, and making sure that everything is doable within the income that we will have left, so we are saving as much as we can now, not only as a cushion for then, but also to prove to ourselves that we can live on less.  The YFG will have much less than the EFG in terms of income, as Aberdeen has a very generous financial package for low-income English families, which the YFG will not get elsewhere.

Keeping our priorities in order is a significant part of that - the post has just arrived with a £22 text book which the YFG needs, so that has been put in her room, but the Boden catalogue which arrived at the same time has gone straight in the bin.

We have also reclaimed the dining room as a usable room in the house - the girls are thrilled and I am looking forward to Christmas lunch in there this year.

I hope that you are all well - I do have a nosey around your blogs occasionally when I sit down for a cuppa.  Toodle pip for now though x

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Another day

The blog roll hasn't reappeared yet, so if anyone does know how to get it back, I would be very pleased to hear from you.......

In other news, the EFG has sacked one driving instructor in Aberdeen who was incredibly rude and unhelpful, but has found another, who comes highly recommended.  Good sign - he also has a waiting list, but she got onto that before she sacked the woman she is leaving.  She had had to pay the woman for a block booking in advance, so she has lost about £10 for the last little bit of time she has not claimed, but she is not worried about that - far better to be clear of such a negative personality, she feels.

Continuing with the roads, the YFG has passed her theory test in the last couple of hours and is on her way home from the library where she took the test, and we will shortly be off to see my dad.

He's had a health scare and is a bit fragile. It was his 87th birthday on Monday, so we suddenly became conscious that we hadn't seen him since the EFG was at home, and thought it was time we made the short journey across the Fens to see him - but then quite by chance, the YFG's driving instructor took her to his town yesterday on quite a route. Unfortunately, they did not stop in to see him but he would have been thrilled to have seen her behind the wheel!

Work? Manic. Too many hours last week......  Love it though, and the people!

Toodle pip - see you again soon xx

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Where have you all gone?

You were there the day before yesterday, but I popped in here tonight to say something and now I am too worried about where the blogroll has disappeared to to post about what I was going to say!  All my favourite blogs were there, easily accessible for me [and you] to dip in and out of - and now they are gone!  

If anyone knows what is going on, do share!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


It seems that life is just keeping me away from blogging at the moment. I have really appreciated the support that this blogging community has given to me over the last few years, and whilst I am not closing this blog down, I am coming to the conclusion that aiming to post regularly is just not going to happen.

Each day is split into three sections and I am only supposed to work two of them each day, but at the moment, that's rare. It's not killing me, though, because when I have a late night out at a meeting, I tend to have a morning the next day when I can have a later start. There are days when I am out and about all day, but others where I maybe just have to pop somewhere for an hour, or I can just work at home on paperwork for most of the day. It does balance out in the end, but what with the house, spending time with the YFG and on the phone with the EFG, visiting my dad occasionally and just attempting to keep up with friends, I'm not spending time on blogs now.  Have to say that I do miss your news, though.

I have launched a new choir in one of our town churches, and we are meeting each week - we kicked off with nine members on the first night - and we were thrilled to be able to sing a Joseph song by the end of it - given that it is a choir to enable people who "can't" sing to benefit from the health aspects of singing, we were chuffed with ourselves!

Our bereavement support group in one of the other smaller churches is also working out very well as we have had a couple of new people coming along in the last couple of months. There are two sisters attending who have both been widowed in the last 18 months, and they have just had another blow in that their third sister has just died after a long struggle with cancer.  We are spending time in prayer for them all.

We are looking forward to seeing UJ today - it was his birthday yesterday and the YFG has made him a beautiful chocolate cake for tea today.  I am also going to be doing some baking for a local MacMillan coffee morning this Friday, so the mixer is busy this week - ginger cake has been requested.

The EFG has settled very well back into Aberdonian life - she loves the situation in the new flat. There are four of them in the flat, although there are five rooms, but one hasn't been let. One of the other girls never actually sleeps in the flat, so most of the time there is only the EFG and two others there - so quite relaxed and calm. They are having weekly Sunday or Monday meals together and she is getting on with the other girls very well: the two she is spending most time with are both doing primary education, but all of them have their own groups of friends and do not depend on one another for friendship, which is rather more healthy than the last flat group which was heavily dependent on one another - and made life uncomfortable when they fell out.

September has been as cost-effective as I could make it - but I had to go and buy some new boots yesterday: as I have said before, my winter boots are 11 [black pair] and at least 16 [brown] years old. The black pair sprung a leak and I had wet feet on Monday.....I wear black a lot of the time, so it was time to get some more. I went into Clarks and asked the lady for all the plain black boots they had in size 8 to try on - and she brought out three pairs. I bought two of them!  I thought that I had definitely had my money's worth out of the others, since the 11 year old pair cost me £50 and I have worn them so much!

I have kicked off the school governor year by announcing that this is my last year and that I WILL definitely be retiring at the end of the year - and we have further put plans in place to designate the next chair in January so that I can spend 6 months handing over to the new chair before I retire. I am thrilled with the school and the way it has moved forward and developed over my time as a governor, and it is time to let go and move on now.  It will be one less responsibility too!

Enough for this morning - need to go and get the day moving!

Friday, 2 September 2016

And we're off with the challenge!

We were severely limited with financial challenges when the EF girls were here last year, and so spending was at a level which we could sustain, but not a lot was saved, if you see what I mean. Now that the September 1st has arrived and I feel like a new beginning again - and it is the start of the school and Methodist Connexional years - so here we go again!

Why? Because we have a big bill coming in from March when the chimney was fixed, because the girls want to be insured to drive when they have had more lessons, because there is more work on the house that I want to do, including replacing a shower unit and some decorating, because we need to save up for some new carpets! I have to make a contribution for fuel to the cousin who is taking the EFG back to Aberdeen.  And I want to do all of those projects this year, before the income drops as I mentioned in the last post......

So for this month - we are doing back to back weekly spending challenges where we only buy what we absolutely need, and I reckon we can manage on about £25 a week for the two of us. That is for FOOD only. Hopefully we might spend a bit less.......we'll see. We kicked off yesterday with a no-spend day so we still have £25 in the pot for this week.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Waving goodbye

I shall be seeing the EFG off on the train this morning as she makes her way to Leicester for a conference, from which she will head to Aberdeen for the next term and the beginning of her third year.  She will be coming back from Leicester to Peterborough, where cousins live, and I shall meet her there on Friday with her luggage; a cousin is taking her back to Aberdeen from Peterborough, and they are leaving at about 6am on Saturday, so it makes sense for her to stay with them on Friday night and make their departure on Saturday as smooth as possible.  We hope that her third year at Aberdeen will be good, and a little less stressful now that she has new flatmates who are hopefully a little more balanced than one of the ones she had last year who was rather volatile. I can't believe that she is 20 years old now and half way through her degree.......makes me feel old!

She's been here since mid-May and we have again to get used to being without her - but we are getting more practised at it now, so it should be OK!  We haven't got the foreign girls this year, so it is going to be quiet here, but the YFG will have to knuckle down and work hard in her A level year, and I have gone from 20 to 30 hours at work since last September, so we are both going to be busy and well occupied! The YFG has a pediatric first aid course to do this term, which will complement her gymnastics qualification, and she also has to do the actual Duke of Edinburgh expedition in September.  I'm hoping the decent weather continues for them as I think they are heading to the Lake District....

A new financial challenge starts here tomorrow on the 1st September, so we are also looking forward to getting started on that - we have had so many financial drains this summer that we really need to boost the coffers. The EFG will turn 18 next summer and all our bereaved parent and family-related benefits will cease [as they should: I am not complaining] but there is a real chance that she will stay at home and take on more study or an apprenticeship and so I will continue to support her financially without those benefits, so we are already looking at living on that amount.

God continues to bless us and provide all that we need, but we do have to be good stewards of that provision, and we are looking at what we really need and what we choose to buy sometimes that might not really be necessary.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016


It's been really hot here today - the temperature gauge in the car read 31C this afternoon when I had to get back into it reluctantly!  I had been at the office with my colleagues, redecorating it, and we had the good luck to be in a room which faces northwards, so we weren't bothered by the heat whilst we were busy but when we finished and came outside again - wow! It was hot!

Since getting home this afternoon, the YFG and I have had a clear out of one of the freezers, since it is rubbish day tomorrow - we have thrown away food which we realistically know we are never going to eat - and I found ratatouille dated past time it was moved on!  I hate to throw stuff out but sometimes, it is the only thing.  We run three freezers, and came to the conclusion this weekend that we should be reducing that down by at least one, so we have probably cleared out enough room in the largest one to move the contents of another smaller one over - but I am not doing that until the next bin day as there will surely be stuff  in the smaller one that we decide to discard as well!

I've also been cleaning some windows and doing some washing. Too much activity for one day - I am off to have a shower and read a book now.  Hope you are all well and I am trying to keep up with my favourite blogs, so if I haven't commented for a while, sorry, but I am still reading a few times a week xx

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Exam results

For the fifth year in a row, on a Thursday in August, we have made the journey to the school to pick up a brown envelope. It was GCSEs and then AS levels and A levels for the EFG, and then the GCSEs and now the AS levels for the YFG. One more year to go!

So we went with some trepidation this morning. We knew that the Geography hadn't been brilliantly taught in one half of the course, and we were all too aware that a good chunk of the Politics hadn't been taught at I was hugely thrilled at the result. The YFG is so disappointed with the E for Politics that we have to keep reminding her that the A for Geography is a small miracle and the B for Religious Studies is very very good. She worked so very hard for those results that I am one very proud mummy tonight.  She does mention often that no one in the family has ever got an E before - we reply that no one has ever tried Politics before.....she joked to her big brother that at least she knows she can rule out Politics as a career now! She will do those papers for Politics again next year when she does the A level papers, and hope for a better outcome. A new teacher has been appointed so we can hope that he will be more effective.

All in all - a good outcome, and far better than I had hoped. I hope that anyone else waiting for results today has achieved everything that they needed to progress to the next stages x

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Girls home tomorrow

The boat will dock early in the morning at Southampton and they will be off by 9am and on the bus back up here!  I am really looking forward to having them home again and hearing all their news. The YFG turned 17 yesterday and has a driving lesson booked for this week, so we have that excitement to look forward to, and I am hoping to make her a late birthday cake in the morning.  She and the EFG will be coming back to a different station and then we will be going to the supermarket to restock the fridge: I have hardly bought anything all week, and the fridge is looking rather bare - and there certainly isn't any of their kind of food lurking around the place.......I shall do a bit of a stock
take in the morning.

What a day we are having in the Olympics!  I am so chuffed with the men's gymnastics individual finals today - two Golds for Max Whitlock on the Floor and Pommel and a Silver for Louis Smith on Pommel.  You could see that he was desperately disappointed not to have achieved the Gold himself, but I think that in the spirit of comradeship, he would have been pleased for Max.  Andy Murray is playing now in the Gold medal match for singles tennis, and there's a Golf Gold as well for TeamGB. We're third in the medal table tonight and although I have no idea how long that will last, it is pretty special to see it for now! We were very briefly second, but that didn't last too long.....

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Girls on tour

You haven't seen any photos here for a while, so I am sharing some of the pictures which the girls sent back yesterday from their day in Vigo, Spain. The boat docked there for the day, and they enjoyed a mooch around the town, enjoying the seafront and a park in the sun. They went back to the boat for lunch and then spent time in the pool in the afternoon.

I think that this is the view of the town from the boat........

We had a hitch with the YFG's phone yesterday with the Tesco Rocket pack SIM not working so it meant I had to nip to Tesco here to get it sorted out.  I am waiting to hear from the girls today to see whether the problem is rectified.  My dad seems to be coping with the jaunt OK but is not going ashore and is enjoying time relaxing on his balcony........snoozing a bit I think!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


The YFG is the kingpin of a relationship we have with another family in the village - she and their daughter are very good friends, I get on well with the mum and dad, and they have a son who used to come to the gymnastics club when I was coaching, and he is a lovely lad.  I don't get to see that much of them nowadays, as the couple are both working, as am I, and so the relationship really relies on the girls to hold it together. I did give the lad the opportunity to earn a few quid last weekend by painting the shed, which he did with some relish.

So that has set the scene for a conversation which the YFG reported at the weekend. She had gone to see the daughter and taken them a few veggies from the garden, and stayed for a chat. The chinwag got around to a wedding that they had attended and the mum then blew the YFG out of the water in a way by saying, "I don't suppose your mum will get married again, will she? She's very happy on her own........"

She couldn't have been more wrong, and the YFG knew it, but she also recognised that it may be too soon for the folks around here to know that, so she hummed and hahhed and avoided actually saying too much, apart from noting that I am only 43, so anything is possible!  I think I have said before that the YFG has keen ideas about me being at least attached loosely to someone else by the time she goes off to university, but given that that could be in a year's time, we won't worry too much about that time frame. Let's just say that I don't want to be on my own for ever!  And whilst I am not "happy" at being on my own [there are lots of challenges to being a single parent], please don't think that I am miserable or depressed or particularly sad about it. God's got it all in hand, I am sure.

What upset the both of us was the presumption that this lady could have an opinion about something like this, something so personal and so private in many ways, and then that she would vocalise her thoughts to my daughter, of all people? She has never had a conversation with me about how I feel and has nothing to base her opinion upon, so she really doesn't have a clue!

But that is the world that we live in these days!  Everyone seems to think that they have the right to have opinions about other people's lives, and that it is OK to share them.  I blame too much celebrity washing of dirty linen on the tv and it is rubbing off on the rest of us.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Glad that is over

What? Several things!

The silly traffic seems to have stopped, thank goodness, and the figures are more reasonable again. 

The way I felt last week - I had some kind of bug last weekend and couldn't shake it off all week, feeling washed out and fragile.

The packing!  The girls have just left on the train to meet up with Grandypops to get on the bus to head towards Southampton and their cruise ship home for the week. They will be on Ventura, heading for Spain and Portugal [well, one port in Spain, two in Portugal and then Guernsey on the way home] and the suitcases and the packing have taken over the house these last few days!  I'm a tiny bit sad that the YFG will be away from me for her birthday at the weekend, but she's looking forward to celebrating on board.

So I am up for a quiet week. I feel kind of reflective today anyway, as I spent a lot of time yesterday praying for a friend's father to die peacefully. He had had a stroke on Saturday and he had little hope of recovering, so the family were hoping for a painless and peaceful passing for him, without suffering. His wife had already died a number of years ago, and he had been wanting to go to be with her for some time. He died in his sleep just after 3pm.

Thanks for stopping by - I'll see you again soon!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Folks, where are you coming from?

Something strange is going on, and my pageviews have consistently increased over the past two months, to the extent that there were almost 3,000 yesterday and my monthly tally is set to be more than double my previous highest.  And the views seem to be coming in through google, and from the USA.

It is quite unlike any spambot attack, and it is consistent, and growing, rather than random.

So, folks who are coming here through Google and who live in the US, what's the attraction?  Do tell, because I am intrigued!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Cooling down and gearing up

Thank goodness the heatwave has passed and we can breathe more easily - I am just not cut out for such searing has been much cooler and fresher.  The garden is going mad, though, and despite collecting 9 courgettes from the plants last week, I have gathered another 8 tonight. It is that time of year when people are afraid to answer their door to me in case I am offering more courgettes - my courgette recipe folder is out and being well used!  The French beans are also laden with gorgeous green beans and the tomatoes in the greenhouse are ripening nicely.

The girls are off on their holidays with Grandypops a week on Monday, and so the preparations are beginning in earnest now......the cases, the shopping, the washing, the choosing....the slight panic!  They are getting a little excited now that the time is drawing nearer.  Dad's health isn't great and he will be getting another MOT at the doctor's next Friday to ensure that the doctor is happy that he is fit to go. Fingers crossed as he really loves his cruises and finds them so relaxing. I doubt he will get off the boat at all this time.

My hours at work are set to increase again, possibly in September, so I will be as good as full time. The YFG has realised that she will miss me, when the EFG returns to Abz and I am at work. She has admitted that the foreign girls were good company, so I think she will find that it takes a little getting used to; the year before the girls came, I was working the phone job and so I was here most of the time for her when she was out of school.  Mmmm. We'll have to see how that one goes in September: the EFG has her date set for her return, and her journey is all planned now.

Hope you are all doing well - I do keep an eye on most of the blogs when I stop for a cuppa now and again!  Love to you all xx

Tuesday, 19 July 2016


The YFG has just returned from two days on a Geography field trip, and there is a little sunburn on her shoulders, where there is a hand-shaped mark where the suncream did go and sunburn where it missed!  They were near Sheringham and Hunstanton on the north Norfolk coast, investigating coastal habitats  - ideal for this hot spell we are having.

The EFG and I had three hours in the garden last night, chatting, in the shade, eating our tea, and reading, enjoying the cool breeze.  I had the absolute bliss of washing my bed linen, it baking in the sun and then going straight back on the bed - and it smells g-l-o-r-i-o-u-s-l-y fresh and clean!  I'd do that every day if the weather would co-operate.

And today - it has been more of an indoorsy kind of day, hiding from the heat as much as we could, and just popping out as much as necessary. I've pottered in the garden tonight, watering the tomatoes, beans and courgettes so that they live through this heat.

I'm not particularly looking forward to going to bed tonight, as it seems that the overnight temperatures are likely to remain above 20 degrees.......and that is going to make for uncomfortable conditions. One of the neighbours has recommended opening the loft hatch and letting heat escape that way - but the girls thought that the number of spiders which would make their way down would outweigh the benefits, so we didn't try that.

Another chilled drink and another cool shower are in order before I try to get to sleep, I think.  At least we are not taxing the hot water system this week!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Facebook friends

As part of my bereavement support work, I have set up a Facebook group so that widows can chat with each other in a safe place.  The partner I am working with on this project has been clear that she would like this to be a Christian women's group, and I respect that. I am not sure that I won't expand into other groups in the future, though. If you are a Christian widow and would like to join the group, let me know in the comments [which I won't publish] and we'll go on from there.

It's HOT here today - Keep Cool and Carry on!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Quick catch up

  • The YFG has left this morning for her Duke of Edinburgh practice expedition to Yorkshire. They are starting and finishing in Scarborough and it was an early start to leave the school at 6am, but they are looking forward to a MacDonald's breakfast on the way. She did load up with some porridge before she left, but the more calories she can take on board before they start, the better, I think: she doesn't have an awful lot of food in the pack for the four days, and I am sure she will have lost weight when she gets back!
  • The weather is playing havoc with me keeping the weeds under control in the garden and I have given up!  All I am doing now is managing to keep the grass to a reasonable level......
  • UJ has been away to the coast with my sister for a week, and we are looking forward to seeing him tomorrow and catching up with his news.
  • The EFG helped collect donations at a Food bank drive in Tesco last week, and I worked the same thing in a different Tesco last Saturday morning - I am relieved to be able to say that both received very generous donations, and people were generally very supportive.
  • My dad has had to have a chest x-ray. He's not doing brilliantly. We have to wait until he sees the doctor on Friday to get the results, but I am hoping that the doctor will advise him about the wisdom of the August cruise, as I really don't want them to go if he is not well enough.
  • Work is going well, and I am still enjoying it........which is good!!  I am getting fed up of people telling me how tired I look, though, so I have had to invest in some proper make-up. Getting up at 4.30am this morning will not help matters, but I shall have an early night tonight. I am NOT tired!
  • Much love to all of you who keep reading, now that posting is more sporadic. See you again later this week.

Monday, 20 June 2016

They're back and I'm off!

The girls returned from Stirling on Saturday evening, quite travel weary but full of tales!  The YFG had loved the campus at Stirling, and had "quite liked" the uni in Glasgow. She didn't like the city itself: apologies to any Glaswegian readers but her overall impression of the city was that "everyone smokes and it stinks" but she did love the Kelvingrove museum - she is a big museum fan!

They gathered themselves yesterday and returned to the normal routine of school today - the YFG as the student and the EFG in the Teaching Assistant role she is trying out.

And me? I've got a whole week off work!

I'm going to spend it well - interviewing potential teachers for school today, governors meeting tomorrow, course on Thursday, pootling about in the garden [if it ever stops raining] and sorting the house out post-EF so that rooms vaguely return to how they once were......might be a big job!  Some sock knitting or crochet might also be on the cards, but I am not holding my breath. Some reading is definitely going to be enjoyed.

See you soon!

Friday, 17 June 2016


The girls have been in Glasgow since Wednesday, and they are having a day at leisure in the city today so that they can see what they think to it all. They travelled up on Wednesday so that the EFG could accompany the YFG to the uni open day there on Thursday: she likes it, but the talks about the subject she is interested in were cancelled due to industrial action, so that was a tad disappointing for them. The news last night was that they had walked over 22000 steps, had a wander by Kelvingrove and round a museum or two. Today I hope they don't go mad in the shops......

They weren't terribly impressed with the view from their hotel room window.

Tomorrow morning they will be up at the crack of dawn to catch a train just after 7am to get to Stirling to go to the open day there. After that, they are coming home - and I will be very glad to have them home again - it's getting a bit quiet here on my own.

Hopefully they will take some photos to show me where they have been and what they think - it is years since I was in either Glasgow or Stirling!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

RIP Jo Cox

(image from

Having been closeted in a staff meeting for over 6 hours today, I had no idea that this appalling murder had taken place until I returned home and switched on the news.  The full details are on the news website here but it is a terrible thing to have happened: a lovely young mother, an MP and someone who seems to have campaigned tirelessly for what she believed in, has been shot and stabbed in her constituency, on her home turf. Makes you wonder what this world is coming to.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Scaring folks

The EFG did her stint at the Foodbank on Tuesday. She arrived at 9.30 for her session until 11.30 but by 10.30, everything was done that needed to be done. She has chatted with the other volunteers and apparently, this is happening more often these days. Why? Because they are just not getting the volume of donations that they usually get, so it takes far less time to sort and stack what they do get.

The consensus of opinion between the volunteers is that the EU referendum is scaring people, and so they are not donating in case they need their cash/stash of food themselves because of all the headlines in the news about what might happen either way. Their amateur philosophy is that if we leave the EU, the donations will fall even further as people worry about what might happen. They are worried, though, that even if the vote is to stay, the donations will not resume at the rate that is required to have adequate stocks on the shelves, because of the uncertainty about the way that the EU will develop.

They are still feeding people, but they don't have the resilience in the back room stock that they had a couple of months ago [well, they have plenty of baked beans at her particular Foodbank, but not a lot of anything else] and the donations boxes in the supermarkets around here are not filling up the way they did, she says.

I preached on gratitude this last Sunday [one of my favourite topics] and one of my points is that we should rely on God each and every day, and give thanks for all that he gives us on a daily basis. I try to remember that whether or not we are in the EU, people still need to be fed when they are hungry.  I am not into politics in a big way, and I just have my own little opinion, but even I can see that there is a lot of scaremongering going on on both sides, and it is hard to watch the damage it is doing.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Football and farewell

There is no need to buy a television guide for the foreseeable future. Football is on, all the time!

In other news, the EF girls have left. The Austrian walked off down the platform when I dropped her at the station after we shared a hug, and she was gone.  A very independent girl, she seems to concentrate on looking forward to the next adventure.

The Dane was a different departure all together. We went out for a meal on Saturday night and had a lovely time. We came home and continued to try to finish her Downton marathon, before giving up and all heading to bed around 11.30pm. Sunday morning we watched a bit more, squeezed her suitcase closed, and things started to get a bit too real for her.  By the time we got to the appointed bus station, the tears and jitters had begun, and we had to have a lot of hugs. As she said, she came over here and built a new life for 10 months, and now she has to walk away from everything here and get back to normal in Denmark.  Bless her!  She's had a night at an EF camp for the farewell prom and will fly home today.  We've had a couple of exchanges on Facebook messenger this morning and she's OK so far.  My girls have already noted that it is quieter here without her.

And the farewells will go on - my two are off to Glasgow and Stirling from Wednesday till Saturday so that the EFG can chaperone the YFG around the two uni open days up there. It will be VERY quiet here on my own!!

Friday, 10 June 2016

All kinds of grief

I've been doing a lot of work on the bereavement project lately in my role in the church and it has been both eye-opening and challenging.  We have set up a Bereavement Support Group in one of the churches, and it meets monthly. We had two widows the first month and four in the second meeting. I have heard all sorts of comments and sayings just lately: "of course you are crying, dear: if you didn't cry, it would be as if you didn't love him....." was just one of them.  It makes me wonder what folk must think about me, not having shed a tear in public, and not a great deal in private either. 

I went on a course provided by Care for the Family, which was excellent, and incredibly informative. I have come across plenty of websites and blogs written to support and encourage people who have lost their partners. I am also looking at a stack of books on the same topic.  I'm a bit inundated!  Then yesterday I went to a chat with some women from another church who are promoting information about dying well. So I am working both sides of the event now.

Image result for dying matters
(image from

I have read a really good article tonight about all kinds of grieving not being the same. When I look back over my life, I have lost both grandmothers and a grandfather, a couple of aunts, my mother and now my husband. I've experienced the death of my best friend's brother from suicide, as well as the death of a dearly beloved colleague's son, also from suicide but by another method.  I've seen people grieve and I have done it myself. 

Every single relationship brings on a different kind of grief. For me, grandparents' deaths were not as traumatic: they were all over 80 and two were actually over 90 when they died, and so they had achieved the age where younger children are not so shocked to hear of their deaths. I was sad that they had indeed died, but to a young child, as I was when my dad's parents passed on, they were relatively remote characters and I did not feel it as hard as my other grandmother, who died in 2002, four years after her daughter, my mother.  Of all the deaths, my mother's was the worst. We knew she had cancer, but the death itself came very quickly in the space of 8 hours. I grieved terribly and agonisingly for nearly two years, had to have anti-depressants and therapy, and it was a huge loss.

The ladies at the Bereavement Support Group were talking, as we hoped that they would, and one was sharing that the doctor had wanted to put in a support package for her in order to help her to look after her terminally ill husband. She had refused it and said that she wanted to do everything herself. She was a bit shocked when I said that I was willing to accept all the help there was, partly because I was also thinking about the girls. She had expected me to agree with her, and was a bit shocked that I didn't.  But then she has other ideas about her own grief, too, and doesn't expect to really enjoy life any longer now that her life partner has gone.

Oh, how challenged this society is by death.  

(image from

I am finding that people don't want to talk about death, unless they are affected in some way by it, but then even those who have close knowledge of it will expect that other's experience will be similar if not the same.

It can never be the same. Each one of us has a different life experience, different backgrounds, different relationships with our deceased beloved [and in some cases, not beloved] and we come from different death experiences - why on earth would anyone expect grief to affect us all in the same way?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Do you get it?

I've noticed a new-to-me expression coming out in local speech more and more lately. At first there was only one person, and I thought it was a peculiarity of hers, but then I came across it more and more.  

The conversation would run something like this, "Are you coming to the party on Saturday?" The other person would think for a minute and then reply, "Well, no. I was coming with Susie but she can't get." 

And I am left wondering what it is that Susie can't get!  The sentence demands that there is an object attached to that verb, surely?  You are probably quicker on the uptake than I was the first time, and realise that they mean that Susie can't come, can't get THERE, or here or wherever.  

Is that just a local thing here, or even an East Anglian phenomenon, or is it happening all over the place?  

We are not far from the border with Norfolk and have a lot of people in our communities who speak with a slight Norfolk accent, which I love. It has all sorts of interesting words in the local speech, which make it unique.  There's "int" which loosely translates as "isn't it" but not always....and "noo" instead of "new" which is how my mother used to pronounce it too. We also hear "moosick" and the Bernard Matthews [he of the turkey fame] favourite, "bootiful".  It's lovely to listen to, but it does not help the children learning to spell at the school!

Sunday, 5 June 2016

New blog in the blogroll

I've found a beautiful new blog to read, and this is also a more local one to me - Fenland Lottie. It has some beautiful photography, scrumptious looking recipes and lots of gardening. You might want to take a peek!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

What are you looking at?

Something weird is going on here - I've had some funny old spikes in the stats in the past, and I know that some of the other bloggers have as well, and it was all explained with something which I think was called a spambot, but there is something different going on here now.  I've stopped posting on a daily basis as life has got busy, as I have explained, and yet the "pageviews" are going through the roof - and not just on odd days but on a daily basis.........ever since the 15th May.  If anyone has a simple explanation, I'd love to read all about it.  Most of the traffic seems to be coming from Google, too, which is another strange part of the story.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Made it through

Just about got to the end of the month - boss lady has had her week's holiday on the North Norfolk coast and the administrator and I didn't let it all fall apart in her absence!  We had a fantastic "Songs of Praise" at one of our churches during the week, and I had to give a talk to a group of older ladies at their Sisterhood meeting - the male minister who is off sick was supposed to be doing that, but I got landed with it!  Inspiration did not strike at all, so they got "ten things you didn't know about me" which enabled me to waffle on about chickens, living in Scotland, lodgers, studying multiple languages, gymnastics, etc and they seemed amused, so it did the job!

Candidating for the church has hit a snag or three. The portfolio that I have to produce requires me to write reflections on a course of study in which I have participated for over 15 hours. If at HE/FE level, it can be within the last 5 years, but at any other level, it must be within the last three years. Mmmm - that means I have to go on a course PDQ in order to be able to write about one! Trouble is, the average "course" that I go on is for the day or a couple of hours, so I haven't been on a course of the required length for years, let alone in the last three years, with all that we have had going on here.  It is also a bit late to start an evening course now, as they all started for this term after Easter, and there is also a limited number of that sort of course available around here. This one is going to be a challenge!

And then I have to shadow a minister for 20 hours, which seems OK. BUT it has to be in a circuit much different from ours here - which pretty much means it will have to be a city circuit. Heading into Cambridge or Peterborough is going to be the only option there, I think. I had been offered rural north Lincolnshire, but I think that setting will be too similar to our own, unfortunately.

Boss lady has suggested that we start the process this year, but don't have it all ready for December this year, but aim for December 2017 which would take me for training from September 2018. True, it would give me more time, and perhaps that is the right approach. Got to think and pray about that one!

We are now on the two week countdown to the EF girls leaving.  Can't believe that ten months have passed this quickly but the calendar assures me that June is almost here!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Mid May already!?

I can't believe how quickly time is passing but summer is beginning to peep around the corner, and the sun has been shining on the Fens today.

Thank you for your messages. Stuff's happening, and things are changing......the EFG will be home for the summer in only two sleeps [yes, still count sleeps!] and the poor YFG has 4 AS level exams this week, so stress and tension levels in the house are running high.

The Austrian leaves on Wednesday for two weeks at home, then she'll be back for ten days before she actually leaves for good. The Dane is here till the 12th June but her exams will be over this week so she is planning some down time and excursions, as well as a spot of shopping as she has found UK prices to be more favourable than Danish ones!

Work is exciting, and I am working with an amazing team of folk whom I love to bits, and we are having a great time together, as well as facing up to some incredible challenges in the circuit......but God is good, as the boss keeps saying, and we had a fantastic circuit service yesterday with over 90 people coming together from most of the chapels to worship together - and the roof was loosened a little, even if it didn't come off altogether!

I spent Saturday at a conference about bereavement support, which was so interesting and informative, but I have to read all the course notes again and get it all into my head. There was so much to take in but I met some lovely people, and I will be able to keep in touch with some of them in the future.  I didn't have to travel too far to the conference, either, which was a bonus, as it was held at a church in Peterborough - the church is disguised as a conference centre and used for that as well, as it is modern and purpose built, and the conferences during the week must be a valuable income stream for the church too.

The raspberries are rampaging across the garden, the lawns have all been cut today, and there are seedlings coming through the veg beds now, as well as tomatoes in the greenhouse - UJ has been a bit busy and I keep it going from week to week, but couldn't do it without him!

The information and forms about candidating for ministry come out on the Methodist website in about two weeks and I am simultaneously scared and excited about the whole process and what I have to do.......I know I have some wonderful support here though so I am sure I will get through it if it is God's plan for me. If it isn't, the plan will become clearer as I go through the process.  Prayers and positive thoughts would be appreciated, though.

Thanks for all your kind words - I'll try to pop back again soon!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Not quite drowning

but waving!

Still here, but with crises in several areas, some bigger than others, life is a bit of a struggle just now, and there isn't a great deal of spare time for blogging or even money saving these days..... BUT there will be an improvement when the EF girls leave, which I am now looking forward to in a bittersweet kind of way - I will miss them, but I am keen to regain a higher level of privacy in our lives again - we are feeling like we live in a fishbowl some days, and the YFG has resorted to coming to my room late at night to share things with me that she doesn't want overheard.  

I have had a gallop around some blogs at the weekend, so I have an idea of some of what is going on, but hopefully I will catch up properly in the summer - I shall be back, as I am too fond of this space to abandon it. The story's not over yet!  Love to you all x

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Caught myself

I did it last week - I saw a man on a bike, struggling against the wind and lugging two bags of shopping on his handlebars, and I thought to myself, "Poor bloke, can't afford a car, and in this weather, he's having a hard time....." but then I wondered whether actually, he can afford a car, and just prefers to bike, or preferred to bike on that particular day.  And I have been subject to comments myself a couple of times lately about my ability to afford things, albeit in a very subtle way today.

We have been borrowing our neighbour's dog over the past couple of weekends to go for walks around the village, and I mentioned to him today that we might consider a dog ourselves by the time that the YFG is off to uni, so that I have some company....and his response was that it is cheaper to borrow his dog a couple of times a week than to have one of our own.  Yes, that IS strictly true, of course, because we get the pleasure of the walks without the costs of keeping the lovely dog.  On the other hand, I can't see me going round and asking if I can borrow the dog for a hour or two "to keep me company" as that sounds weird compared to asking if I can take him out for a walk!!

And then there have been the comments about my capability to do things, like buy a car, and rod our drains.  Some folk thought that I couldn't do either on my own - I won't go there!!  I've done both in the last month, and survived.

The moral of the tale - you know!  Don't prejudge.......heck - don't judge at all, and just let's all get on with what we are doing and do it the best way we know how - we can all ask for help if we need it!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Popping back

Sunday nights are good again - except that "The Durrells" is on ITV so I do have to put up with adverts.  Having read the book when I was at primary school, I had a vague recollection of the storyline and some of the characters, and the first episode last night was good.

Meet the cast of The Durrells
(image from

Lots of things are going well at the moment - the EFG is home for three weeks, work is going well and the weather is perking up.

Unfortunately, I still don't have my new car but we won't worry too much about that or life will get depressing.

Grandad has booked another cruise in August for the girls to go along with him and his partner; the YFG is stressing about exams already; the EF girls leave in 10 weeks, and we are beginning to be ready for that - I shall miss them but I will also be glad to regain some privacy in the house, and some freedoms.

Hope you are all well, and thank you for reading xx

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter

He is Risen!

Image result for easter morning
(image from

And we have made it to the Easter weekend break. It feels like a relief as tomorrow I have a day off, and I am ready for it!

Every day during Holy Week I have been walking 10,000 steps [roughly a little over 5 miles] in order to raise money for Care International to help girls attend school in developing countries by providing water pumps in their villages so that they do not have to walk to fetch water. I committed to walking that many steps each day, including today, so I am hoping to get the walking done before Storm Katie hits us - she had better hold off until tomorrow.

I have actually already walked the 70,000 steps necessary but since I said I would do it each day, I will - I have a choice, but the girls who walk for water have not the same luxury of choice and so I will walk today in their honour.  This cause is important to me, as someone who has received a good education and who works to promote equal opportunities and good education for the village children here, and I want all children to have access to education too.

I've had a good level of support and think that I will have raised just over £200 by the time all the money so far pledged is in, so I am pleased with that as the original target was half of that.

Each day I have been walking with some music to keep me company but yesterday I finally managed to get someone to come with me - the YFG accompanied me because I was lucky enough to borrow our friends' dog!  That was encouragement enough to get her to tag along, but whether I shall be so lucky today will be another matter!

I'm taking the village chapel service this morning at 10am, UJ is here for a roast lamb lunch, and then I shall be walking in the afternoon before I go to help out at another service this evening.  And tomorrow - my feet will be up and I have a film to watch whilst the wind howls down the chimney.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


I'm now on my FIFTH car of the month - I started off with Susan, I've borrowed UJ's car, I've had a hire car, I've test driven Fiona, and now I'm on number Five!

Why a fifth?  

We went along to pick up Fiona, only to find out that she had failed the MOT as the central locking wasn't locking!  They had ordered the part and it should be there this morning.  I was more than a little disappointed, but on the other hand, better that they discovered it and put it right than it happen when it was my responsibility.  I did ask for them to deliver it, since I did not want to go all the way back again - and they gave me car number 5, a free courtesy car, for today.  This one is bright cobalt blue and a dream to drive.......shame I can't keep it!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Seriously Skoda

The part has not yet arrived for Susan :(

I bought another Skoda Fabia today :)  

I think she might be called Fiona, but I haven't quite made up my mind. She's petrol blue but actually runs on diesel and is a 12 plate.  She's coming home on Tuesday.  Relief all round.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016


Sometimes it seems that the world's conspiring against you, and it is very draining to see money spiraling away from the bank accounts in a seemingly never-ending flow.  I've had the chimney fixed and not had the bill, but I know that the hire of the cherry picker to do the job was about £180 before the chaps touched the chimney!  Then there is the car, and the hire car, and the parts I have ordered, and it seems that that situation may not be remedied straight away........

In times like these, I do something which seems to some to be very strange - I start giving things away. It's a trust issue. It says to me and to God that I trust He will continue to care for us, and that we will be OK. That this drain will stop and that actually, I have enough, and so I can spare resources for others.  I have just made a donation to the Salvation Army online, and I shall be making a donation to the local food bank today as well.  It makes me stop and think about my own feelings towards resources and having "enough" and just how blessed we are.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Susan the Skoda

Susan the Skoda is feeling a bit poorly. She may actually be terminal......  We bought her back in 2012 from a friend, and she has been doing incredibly well for an older car - she has now achieved over 172, 000 miles, and was going very well last Thursday.  Friday morning, she sounded like she was sickening for something and was very reluctant to get going in the morning [know how she feels!] so I went straight to the garage we always use in the village. Chap agreed that she didn't sound right but couldn't fit her in until Monday.

I did ask what he thought about me going to the city to take the YFG to physio and he didn't recommend it, so I had to cancel that appointment. When I left the garage, I pottered slowly to the chapel where I parked her on the road outside and then went over the road to the school for a meeting.  Meeting over, worship lunch at the chapel done, and it was time to head home.  She really didn't want to start that time, so after a couple of attempts, I left her there and walked home, leaving the key with the chap at the garage on the way past, and asking him to recover her.

Long story shortened, I called in there today to see how it was progressing and it isn't!  We have ordered a part from ebay to see if it is the problem, because he really isn't sure and it isn't worth buying the part new at £175 if it may not be that. Since the value of the car is likely to be only a couple of hundred at most, it really isn't worth taking her in to a Skoda main dealer and having them spend hours of expensive labour on her.  The part will be at Argos on Wednesday so I can pick it up then and we can see if she feels better after that has been fitted. If not, she's probably off to the great scrap yard for Skodas.  Bless her, I don't want to write her off before her time is up, but I would quite like a new car - and I have seen one locally that would do.  Watch this space!  Serious savings will be on the cards if I have to go down that route.

In the meantime, we have a nice Ford Fiesta on a 65 plate from Avis so that I can keep going to work to earn the pennies!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Lent competition

Lent has sometimes felt like a competition between our ministers to see who can trouble me the most deeply with the Lent reflections course that we have been doing.  First, she who must be obeyed [who is lovely!] said I could do the third of the sessions, which was a bit of a leap in the dark, and then this morning, he who must also be obeyed [who is also great] phoned me when I was half way to the first group, and let me know that he was stuck in traffic and if I got there first, we could begin......yes, begin what?!  I had nothing prepared so I was very relieved to see him arrive dead on time!

We've been following a course recommended by Churches Together in Britain, about Pilgrimage. It is a bit tricky as these things go as there are no proposed questions or lines of thought to follow, but just four or five reflective pieces of writing, some prose and some poetic, to use as conversation starters.  Today's theme has been "uncertainty".

I attend each week's group in three separate places as we seek to try to bring the opportunity to as wide as possible an audience across the area that we cover.  10am in the north, 2pm in the middle and then the evening session is out to the west.  An hour at each one, and about 75 miles done over the day - and each time, I listen and hear something slightly different.

I struggle immensely with having to discuss something which I cannot see, but have only heard read aloud once, so by the third session, I am beginning to have coherent thoughts; it means that I do understand some of the comments of the others attending that this is a difficult course.  I shall have to give some feedback to the leadership team tomorrow when we have a chat.

I shall talk more about this theme of Uncertainty another day when I have thought about it more, as it is all very fresh in my mind today and I am not sure I would be very coherent if I tried to explain my thoughts tonight!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Clocking in

Image result for clocking in and out old fashioned
(image from

Yes, popping back in here this week.  It seems that a weekly post might be the thing to aim for at the moment, as daily chatting is just not going to happen in this season.

The Circuit meeting was happy to extend my hours on Tuesday night so I am officially working 30 hours a week now, and kindly agreeing to pay me overtime for the extra hours I had worked in February.  I did also get a clear instruction not to do any more than that though!  I had to give  report on the work I have been doing in the past six months and the meeting seems to be generally pleased with what I am getting done.  

The Dane's great grandmother died on Sunday and so she is having a difficult week. Things happen quite differently in Denmark in that she was cremated on Monday [Monday! the day after she died - that would be impossible here as the queues for appointments at the crematoria seem to stretch into weeks in some places] and her thanksgiving memorial service is today. The ashes are likely to be interred today as well, she thinks.

Parents' evening at school tonight so I will be dashing between three sets of teachers for them all, and hoping for good reports.  I expect good reports, as if there had been any problems, it would have been wise for the teachers to have told me before now!

It is daffodil season in the Fens now - in full swing - and there are glorious spots of bright yellow everywhere!  It is lovely.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016


There are daffodils bursting out all over the place and the morning started off clear and sunny but we have just had snow, hail and rain.......has spring decided not to?  The lambs in the field outside the village will be thoroughly confused this morning.....

Image result for lambs and daffodils
(image from

Friday, 26 February 2016

Moving forward slowly

I wrote ages ago about the widows' ministry we are seeking to develop within my work in the church and you would be forgiven for thinking that we have forgotten all about it.  I haven't. It is bubbling away in the back of my mind, and there are people with whom I have been chatting, websites and books being read, prayers prayed, and God's intentions discerned, we hope.

I have had a really exciting meeting with a widow from another church today - a joint friend set us up and she came over to have lunch with me, although it was our first meeting.  She is lovely and I really feel that we are going to be good friends - there is a bond between widows anyway, I feel, but I felt that we got on well today.  She has an inspiring vision for a ministry for widows on the internet and in local work too, and I would love to join with her and help her to make it happen - with a lot of prayer and careful consideration too.  I've got to talk with the folk at the church here too, but I think it might complement what we are doing here.....and there is room for both.

So, widows out there who read, thank you for those of you who contacted me in the past, and I hope you won't mind if I get in touch with you again, and ask you a few more questions about your experiences. And those of you who are new here, but who might be widows too, would you like to email me, on the email address on the top right there, and share your thoughts - I'd love to know what has helped you in your experience, what you think might have been done better or differently, and any ideas you might have to all stays confidential and nothing gets published anywhere, or publicly discussed.  It just helps me to understand the wealth of wisdom that we have as widows, and the way that we are being supported, or not, and who/which organisations are giving the most helpful support.

As my new friend and I shared today, no one understands a widow as well as another one, and yet every one of us has a slightly different experience, and they are all to be valued, respected and held in a safe space.

Thank goodness times have changed since the days in which we would have been expected to wear clothing like this - but time hasn't made death much easier to talk about in general society. 

Image result for victorian widow
(image from

"If you are a widow, know that this is a space for you and that there are those here who understand something [not everything] of how things can be.  We have dealt with the undertakers, made it through the funeral, waded through the paperwork and benefit claims, comforted the children, and started to find a new and different way forward.  Learning to cook for fewer people, having to find out about new responsibilities, getting used to being single again; none of it is easy, and there are some wise women who comment and support one another here. This is a space in which women hold one another up rather than beat one another up, who support and encourage rather than compete and challenge, and who bless one another with patience and peace."

And that is what I want to work towards creating.  What do you think?

Thursday, 25 February 2016

But first

The leadership team is going to ask the circuit to increase my an extra 10 a week, so I shall [if approved] go up to 30 hours a week.

Cue YFG asking me, "How will you cope with that?" to which I replied that I thought a cleaner might be on the cards - so she applied for the job, bless her!

Image result for cleaner
(image from

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

And the next move

When you harbour thoughts of your own, they remain your own until you share them with others. I've shared things with you, but you can't actually do anything about them. A few weeks ago, I shared things with someone who can, and things are happening now.  

I told the Superintendent minister, my boss, that I would like her help to candidate for Methodist ministry.......

She's like a whirlwind. I'm on a day course in two Saturday's time, I have a stack of books to read, and she's organising a mentor.  Blimey! 

I've still got to tell my dad. I think he'll be pleased....I hope so, anyway. 

When I started this blog all those years ago [yes, really - it was years ago!] it was about growing and developing in this life of ours in the Fens. How things change!  You'll have to bear with me if you want to continue on this ride with me - it is still going to be thrifty, cos it can't afford to be anything else now, but it's going to change direction a bit.  

From what I have learned today, this candidating malarkey is hard going.  It is not like applying for a job where you can think about it, quietly fill in an application form and if they don't call you for an interview, well, no one needs to know and we can all carry on as we!  Everyone has to know in this process, which is good, because they can support, encourage and pray, but there is also the concern that if the Connexion reject the offer, everyone will know about the rejection.  Ho hum!

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It's what God has been asking me to do for nearly 20 years, so I thought that the time had come to get on with it now!  Prayers and positive thinking welcome.  You lot have seen me through so much, I think you'll probably see me through this as well - thank you x

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


The EFG sent me a link to a website last week, and then the same website popped up in my Facebook newsfeed yesterday - and I think it is worth sharing.

A woman called Tara Button has set up an online shop called "Buy Me Once" in which it is possible to purchase items which are guaranteed to last a lifetime - or they will be replaced by the company which makes them. Brands such as Le Creuset for cook ware and Doc Martens are there, and lots more.  

Image result for le creuset
(image from
My casserole was a lovely shade of Harrods green rather than this fiery orange, but you get the idea!

What a great idea!  We so often end up buying cheap things time and time again and having to replace them when they wear out.  I have had a LeCresuset casserole dish, which is cast iron and probably bullet-proof - and Doc Marten shoes got me through the miles I walked around St Andrews when I was at uni and had only Shank's pony for transport.  Two brands I would recommend for sure.

There are more details about Ms Button and the website here.

There's a "but" in this though- some of these brands do demand a high initial outlay which takes them beyond the average wallet.  But when I consider whether this is a frugal, thrifty, anti-waste strategy, I think that it is. I'd rather save up and buy some good quality shoes from DM than have to continually buy new ones which wear out on a regular basis.  The Clark's boots that I have had for 10 years don't owe me a penny and I am now on the lookout for a replacement pair, so perhaps I'll have to look at another pair of DMs.  I did order a pair but when they arrived, they had some quite hard leather across the front of the ankle which was uncomfortable on me, so I sent those back for a refund, and I haven't looked for any more since then.  That was a design that didn't suit me, so I am not knocking the brand, just that style!

Ladies who belong to a group on FB that I am in have also been sharing how they prefer old furniture, often handed down from previous generations, to buying new stuff.  I have to say as I look around this sitting room that all our furniture here has either been made by the FH or given to us from relatives - apart from one single armchair - so that is good going. A set of four dining chairs and a sofa came from my grandfather's house and are probably heading for their century celebrations!  This kind of furniture is durable, strong, well-made, and it can take a fair bit of bashing too......I love it.