dear diary :: oh my, oh my…

It has been a long time and a long time away from the old key board – not intentional I assure you and I hope that in the days that have passed you are all well and thoroughly enjoyed January.

Like my life, the changes in the weather have been so unsettling recently that no two days have hardly been the same. We have swung from bitterly cold to blustery winds with a lashing or two of rain in between….. and a day of snow.

So exactly what have I been doing, you might ask?

….and isn’t it hard to remember?

January is a busy month for us with birthdays and on top of that we have more than a few special remembrance days of my father-in-law, mother-in-law, a close uncle and yesterday for my dear old dad – who fell ill during January before he died. It would seem that my family like to fit in one good ‘last Christmas’ before departing from us. It is hard looking back and remembering all the good times we had with each of them, these memories are so precious to me and I like to have some quiet time alone, just me and the photo albums.

After writing my last post (on the 21st January) we managed to squeeze in an appointment with the kitchen planner in Sheffield to discuss the possibility of a new kitchen (yeah) and take up the discounted deal on offer. We arranged for the planner to come over on the following Tuesday to take measurements and look at our space and advise on what might fit in it, but unfortunately that was the day it snowed here so had to be cancelled and is now rearranged for later in February. In the meantime we are trudging endlessly around kitchen showrooms looking for ideas and at the appliances we will need to install. Already it feels like an expensive project.

On the Friday (24th) we had a lovely trip out to our local theatre to see Absurd Person Singular by Alan Ayckbourn – you either love him or you don’t – I like his humour and both the play and actors were brilliant. It is ages since we had an evening at the theatre; we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and agreed that we really do need to get out more.

Saturday was our Burns’ night supper that we host for some of our closest friends and in memory of my Scottish father-in-law who died on Burns’ night (after attending a Burns’ night supper himself at his local church, though I might add his death was not a consequence of the food!).

It has become a bit of a tradition now and each year we add in something new. This year we made Cock-a-Leekie soup as a starter but being vegetarian without the ‘cock’ – so just ‘Leekie’ soup – which was actually just our leek and potato soup recipe – it went down very well though and instead of rolls I made Parmesan crisps (not very Scottish I know but very nice all the same).

We did a special version of the kanban board to help us prepare for the evening and the glass in the patio doors proved to be an effective place to stick all the individual post it note tasks. I decorated a few places around the house with a touch of tartan and placed candlelit lanterns outside in the garden.

The evening was a success even though we were all crammed into our tiny dining area and one of the meat haggis exploded in the oven with quite a bang. The Cranachan recipe using porridge oats was certainly not as good as last year’s version using oatmeal, but enjoyable none the less and I have made a note of this for next year. We managed to polish off all the Tunnoch’s caramel wafers and chocolate teacakes and down a dram or two of whisky before everyone left for home and we climbed into bed at around 3am – so rather a late start to Sunday (….well what was left of it).

Sunday I cleaned the oven to remove the dreaded bits of haggis from every nook and cranny it had attached itself to.

The following Monday we had a trip over to the south of Manchester for the Citroen specialist to adjust the suspension on our car. It is much better now and actually glides over the bumps as it should and even better he only charged £40 which was good news for us after the hundreds we have given to the local Citroen garage in their attempts to get it sorted.

I had hair and physio appointments and was looking forward to a restful weekend but our plans had to change suddenly when both mum and our younger daughter in North Yorkshire required our services urgently. After the physio session on Thursday we hastily packed and shot off to stay with our daughter and the two grandchildren.

Our daughter only moved into her new house last November in a new area and Little L has started a new school…. just when we thought they were all settled – it appears that not all is well with her new landlady and the property she is renting she may not be able to stay in the house (obviously I cannot go into detail here but through no fault of her own may have to move again) – we are waiting for more news on this and as is the case these days no one can discuss the matter with her. What a good job we had not had the time to order the new wardrobes.

My mum had not been well all week and my sister had to go away for a long weekend so she needed our help. She is feeling very down at the moment because she cannot get out and about like she used to. She had an x-ray on her hip, knees and feet last week and my sister who accompanied her saw the x-rays and the radiologist explained what was what – apparently her right hip does not look good, there is no fluid surrounding it and the bones are wearing away. She now has to wait 3 months for an appointment at the clinic to discuss what can or cannot be done. I am amazed at how quickly she has gone downhill; when we went on Saturday to take her out for the day she could barely walk to the car.

As she didn’t need us to take her for any shopping we had a run out over to Saltburn for lunch at the deli cafe and then went down the coast to Sandsend. It is a lovely run and en route we ventured off the main coast road and went along the single track road to explore Goldsborough and Kettleness.

Goldsborough, which is tiny and off the beaten track, does still have a pub called The Fox and Hounds, whilst further on Kettleness village is just a cluster of tiny cottages on the headland since the rest of the village plunged into the sea one stormy night in 1829. The most notable feature is a little abandoned chapel on the way down to the village after this you can go no further and have to turn around and go back.

On Sunday we gave my daughter a break and took the girls, Little L and Sweetie, out for a few hours. It was damp and cold so going to the playground or park was out. Little L had a few pounds in her purse and a book token so we went into Thirsk so she could find a book. The White Rose Book Cafe is one of my favourite places and after a lengthy browse around we had lunch there and eventually Little L settled on a book about boats.

We are home again now but returned to find my elder daughter who lives locally to us had not been well all weekend with a sickness bug caught from her husband and so her return to work yesterday after a lengthy maternity leave has had to be postponed a day or two!!

I think that is all my main news to tell and so today I am catching up with myself. There is paper work to do, washing, ironing and a lot of endless ‘bitty’ bits and pieces.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my previous posts, they are much appreciated. I will be trying to catch up with all you lovely bloggers out there but might be doing a little more reading than commenting until I am up to date.

And of course welcome to all my new followers. x

creating health and well being

Needless to say this part of my life has been a little neglected of late. I should be reporting that I am exercising everyday, eating very healthy meals and remebering to drink more water and take my supplements.

I am working on it!

Truth is I will have to start over – not completely as nothing in life is ever wasted – but just get back on track and it would be a good idea to find my exercise sheet that I had developed with my physiotherapist.

28 thoughts on “dear diary :: oh my, oh my…

  1. What a busy time! I’m thoroughly exhausted on your behalf. I do like the idea that your family have one last good Christmas and that your father-in-law got one last party in.
    Exploding haggis! I couldn’t imagine waking to having to clean that.

    I now have more villages to add to my want to see list! Is that an inclinator?

    All the best with all your family worries – it is hard being caught between responsibilities for both generations- mother and daughters.

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    1. Hi Lucinda – what a shame you do not get UK TV as Kettleness was on a program called Yorkshire Walks tonight from Runswick Bay ( a really must see place) to Whitby.
      I am planning to go in January after a good Christmas, New Year and Burns’ night. But not just yet though!

      Liked by 1 person

          1. I have UKTV and BBC First on a sort of subscription TV that comes with my internet. Our free to air channels often have these sorts of shows. Lots of Aussies like to watch, and dream, about walking around the UK countryside. Portillo”s Great British Railways is very popular. So yes, we often get these sorts of shows.

            But I will check out YouTube and the like, sometimes people upload shows.

            Also I’ve already looked at my public library. They have two DVDs about walking around Britain that I will borrow.

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  2. Your Burns night get together looks wonderful. Those ‘we’ll all have to squish around the table but it’ll be fine’ nights are some of my best memories with family and friends.

    I really hope things are sorted so that your daughter doesn’t have to move again. It’s not an easy thing to do especially if children and schools are involved. It does sound like you’ve been pulled in a few directions lately so I hope you manage to make some time for yourself now.

    Love your positive outlook of all you can do is get back on track with your health and well being. We are all works in progress, some like me, more than others 😉 Have a lovely week. xx

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    1. Hi Suzanne – it is a bit like the Morrison’s advert collecting oddments together to sit on around the table. We stayed in the dining room all night – even though I did offer the comfier sitting room after the meal no-one wanted to move! I am praying Little L does not have to change schools again she has settled in well at her new school. x

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  3. We never stop worrying about our children! I am trying to walk for half an hour every day but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. My friend and I were discussing this the other day. How come we are retired but have less time than ever. Good you could take your mum out and lovely places.

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  4. I had to get out my trusty UK Road Atlas to find out where you had been. The first Saltburn I found was near Invergordon just north of Inverness so I was pretty sure that wasn’t right. Now I have the right spot so could trace your travels. I do so enjoy your posts.

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    1. I should have said Saltburn-by-the-Sea to distinguish it. Funnily enough Kettleness was on the TV tonight on Yorkshire Walks – we are definitely going to try and do the walk from Runswick bay to Southend in the summer – it was rather breezy when we were there on Saturday.

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  5. It sounds like you had your hands full this January. We enjoyed a Burns night supper but just the two of us. The exploding haggis will not be too much fun to cleanup. This year I wrapped our small haggis in foil and baked it in an upen small roasting tin with an inch of water so it braised. No bursting skin this year.
    I hope your mother gets her hip sorted fairly quickly. It is very debilitating as well as inconvenient when joints are painful.

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  6. I think I might need to go and have a lie down after reading about all your busyness.

    Horrible situation for your daughter. We had the same thing with my Son and his wife. They had to move just before Christmas after their landlord gave them notice because he wanted to sell the house.
    Luckily it has worked out well and their new home is beautiful.
    I hope everything works out for your daughter.

    Hugs-x-

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  7. After the exploding haggis incident, you might want to put a self-cleaning oven on your list of prospective appliances for the new kitchen. You could have set it to clean itself overnight. 🙂

    Sorry to hear about the family difficulties. Wretched business for your daughter and the rental. Some landlords behave beyond the pale. Hoping oldest daughter is feeling better–hard enough to return after maternity leave without having to postpone it for an illness. As for Mum, difficult to say what might be the best for her. Know it is hard for you and your sister to see her in pain with her movements restricted. Wishing all of you, some peace from cares.

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    1. Hi Mary – I take it you are back home now after your travels. At least the haggis made me clean the oven!
      Mum is a worry – she is climbing the walls not being able to go out and is finding she is using her stick more insid even. She has agreed to look at a walking frame at the weekend as she knows it is beneficial for her to push and lean on the trollies in the supermarket.

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      1. Perhaps a walking frame with a seat would be good for Mum so that she can sit down easily when standing for any length of time becomes too hard. Best of luck finding the right one.

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  8. Goodness me sounds like you hardly had time to draw breath !
    I remodeled my kitchen a few years ago and because I didn’t want overhead cupboards I had to maximize storage,
    Drawers are the way to go, the only doors are under the sink and the drawers are either deep or shallow depending on what I needed. Best choice ever ! !
    Fingers crossed for a good outcome for your daughter and her rent situation.

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    1. We had some pan drawers at the cottage kitchen and I liked them very much so we are looking to put some in here. Ours is the tiniest kitchen so we are very tight on space and it is proving difficult to fit the cupboards in we need. Hopefully the planner will come up with a good plan!

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  9. That sounds an exhausting time. And a Burns Supper into the bargain! You did more Burns than we did in our corner of Scotland. I only like vegetarian haggis, and with our kitchen currently in a bathroom as part of our renovations it would have been a step too much. Our daughter did travel up to Glasgow from London where she works, just to attend a supper with university friends. Haggis was a really popular item on our children’s school lunch menu in secondary school, and the S6s (6th form) had a formal evening supper every year in school, complete with all the toasts, everyone in kilts/tartan sashes, a piper, fiddle and clarsach music. It was a highlight of their year, and a great honour to do one of the toasts.
    There is so much to think about in designing a kitchen. I have to admit to decision fatigue with ours. We have ordered pan drawers, but if they don’t give enough bang (space) for their buck we plan to replace them with a cupboard. Did your designer give you a virtual reality image of what it will look like once it’s installed in your room? I found that really helpful.

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    1. Our planner has yet to come and measure up – the appointment was cancelled because it snowed the day of her visit, but yes when she has done a plan we will get visuals. We cannot change the existing kitchen very much as it is tiny with two doorways but we know we want to have a high level cooker (for our old age) and maybe a slim line dishwasher. I like to go into the room sets in the showroms to be able to get a good idea of the space etc so we have been trawling the showrooms where they have small kitchen layouts.
      I would love to have a real piper one year for our Burns night – not sure there are many around here though. We hired one for our daughter’s wedding which was in Scotland. x

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  10. I am so glad to hear that you are all safe and well. I was starting to get a little concerned when you went quiet but I couldn’t find a way to contact you through your blog. I am glad to hear that it was just that life has been busy.

    I am so sorry to hear that your daughter might need to move again, that must be so unsettling for you all.

    I used to work very close to Goldsborough and spent many an hour in that tiny pub. I love that part of the country. If you walk along the shore do check the tide times before you go, if you are walking the coastal path you won’t need to do this I don’t think, but still might be worth checking that. You can walk along a lot of the shoreline of that coast, there is a great place for finding fossils at Port Mulgrave which is another fascinating place.

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    1. Thanks for that information we will take care – we are used to tidal shorelines with having the cottage near the sea – it is so easy to get cut off. It looked a lovely little pub – we will try it out next time.
      Thanks for your concern too – I should have put up a quick post to say I would be back soon but the days went by so quickly I hadn’t realised at the time just how many. x

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  11. My eye was drawn to the hill-climbing contraption in the photo, too – we call it a funiculaire (there is one in Quebec City). Your Burns Night dinner sounds wonderful except for the oven cleaning part! I am not a connoisseur of oats and don’t know the difference between porridge oats and oatmeal? (I think we have instant, quick and regular rolled oats, and steel cut). That is such a lot of family stuff going on. I hope you get lots of enjoyment from planning the new kitchen (and finishing the pantry) to counter-balance!

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