dear diary :: a sunny day

Today I woke up to the sunshine streaming in through the window – such a stark contrast to yesterday. I had breakfast and drove up to my daughter’s house once again to look after little Freddie. He is just a delight and at that age when he is trying to make sense of the world and is fascinated by the smallest thing that catches his eye.

After lunch we had a walk in the park today stopping for a cup of tea and a piece of parkin at the local cafe just to refresh myself before the walk back again – it takes some stamina up and down the hills here – I had a good workout!

Once Freddie was back to his house I returned home about 5.30pm and decided on baked potatoes and salad tonight as it seemed a bit late to be attempting a new recipe. Not so much cooking is taking place here at the moment – I had intended to do a lot more – hopefully this is just a blip.

Yesterday, I said I would let you know what I borrowed from the library.

I am still reading a few I had taken out previously but added these to the pile. I started on the Christmas Reader last night – it is a compliation by Godfrey Smith of poems and excerpts of stories with a Christmas theme, the first one being the carol singing evening written about by Laurie Lee in Cider with Rosie. An English Christmas by John Julius Norwich is a similar book – in fact some of the stories and poems used are the same. It may seem a bit early to be reading such a book but I know I will not have time as we get nearer to Christmas and no doubt they will not be available to borrow soon – all the Christmas craft books are already out on loan.

Enough by John Naish is just what it says on the tin and talks not just about enough stuff but enough of many things like information, food, work and happiness. I feel we are overloaded in today’s world with all the above and making decisions is becomming increasingly difficult because of the numerous choices available to us. I am interested to know what he has to say on each of the topics.

The White Robin by Miss Read is my cosy up, feel good book – transporting me into an idylic country village where life is predicatable and slower and there is a sense of community.

Hell Week by Erik Bertrand Larssen is a book I have read before and is for anyone looking to change aspects of their lives. It is not however for the faint hearted as the changes are all done very quickly in one week – hence the title as he almost guarantees doing it this way will be hell, but worthwhile. I may not want to apply his extreme measures, one of which is rising at 5am everyday, but some of the ideas are good and adaptable. There is a planning and preparation stage to undertake before throwing yourself into ‘hell week’. With a tight plan of action you propel yourself from where you are now to where you would like to be in a matter of days. He makes it sound hard and easy at the same time – commitment it seems is the key to success. I am re- reading with the intention of getting to grips with this retirement of mine before I end up just sailing along with the wind completely off the course I was hoping to be on!

I also found these two craft books – I have made a couple of Artist’s books in the past – mainly the concertina style but would like to do more. The one called Bound by Rachel Hazell is such a lovely book in itself.

Last weekend I sat and entered receipts and balanced statements in readiness of looking at my finances for September. I know we had a very cheap two weeks at the caravan but on arriving home we did a major shop and bought a few things so have probably exceeded the pension income for the month once again. I will do a tally at the weekend.

Tomorrow is our lunch date with some old friends, so an early start to the day. I decided on the bulbs as a gift as I already have these, I bought them for myself whilst in Sainsbury’s on Monday – mixed tulips – and they will make a nice little gift.

So that was my day – I hope you enjoyed yours – I am just going to have a lovely pedicure and settle down to watch the Apprentice before bed.

Night night x

dear diary :: colds, babies and rain

Quite a combination for a dismal Tuesday and the first day of the new month. Elder daughter was still not well today – struck with the cold that is doing the rounds. She was very hot and flushed when I arrived to help with little Freddie and just wanted to go back to bed to nurse her sore throat. I can still remember quite vividly how hard it is to look after a young baby when you are feeling under the weather and all you want to do is crawl away and sleep.

Freddie of course was delightful, we played all morning – he can sit up now without wobbling but hasn’t yet mastered crawling – which is just as well as at least i am not having to run after him. He ate most of the pureed sweet potato for lunch – though a lot of it ended up on either me or the floor. He then had a little nap (me too) and afterwards we set off in the drizzle for a walk to the Co-op and back to get some fresh air. Luckily, I didn’t have to get him in or out of the pram- they all seem so complicated these days I am frightened of pressing the wrong catches and buttons and propelling him out into space.

He was still all snug and warm when we got back home but I was quite wet through.

I think I might just be needed again tomorrow – when you are not well it can be difficult to sleep at night and then mornings can be pretty awful – she does look a bit worn out and perhaps just needs a little ‘me’ time and another duvet day. DH will stay home and get on with the pantry. He did mutter something about needing to go back to Ikea for the under shelf strip lights that they do – it is not his favourite place but we will get a free drink if we go during the week – not that there will be much of the week left as we are going up to Settle on Thursday to see some old friends. We have been promising to go all year and of course the minute I make a firm arrangement illness strikes. I am hoping my daughter will be well enough on Thursday to cope without me.

My friend suffers from multiple allergies including the pollen from flowers and eats a very strict diet as many foods upset her. I want to take a little gift as she is providing lunch for us but can’t take a bunch of flowers or chocolates so I am wondering what I might get for her. I was thinking on the lines of a little dish perhaps, there are some nice ones around at the moment and there would be nothing to spark off an allergy with pottery; or maybe some bulbs for the garden as they have just moved into their new house (outdoor flowers are OK).

When I got back home at teatime I had to have a quick tidy round the house – not that it improved it very much – everywhere is such a mess with the contents of what was the downstairs cloakroom littering up the dining and living rooms. Then upstairs we have carpets pulled back and washing drying on the airer in the bathroom. Going up to my daughter’s house is a bit of a relief.

Have you had more rain? We have acquirred a bit of a water feature under our front window where the pebbles are and all the roads around here are becoming like rivers there has been so much rain, I was having to naviagte the car through the floods lying at the sides of the road by virtually driving down the middle. This rain must stop soon our garden is becoming quite waterlogged and I need to get the furniture dried and put away.

I didn’t mention my new library books that I borrowed yesterday – but maybe I will save that for tomorrow ….and yes I have got another Miss Read book – ‘The White Robin’ – I might even read a bit tonight though I rather think I will be asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow – for anyone with sleeping problems I can recommend looking after a baby for the day – I am quite worn out.

Night night x

dear diary :: rainy days and Sundays

Yes, I know it is really rainy days and Mondays in the lyrics of the song but today suits the song very well. What else do you do on such a wet weekend but grab your camera and go outside and take photos. Such an abundance of raindrops, dripping from every leaf and berry and glistening like tiny jewels.

Inside, is a different story – dry and cosy but oh so dismal. I spent an hour or so switching over beach pebbles and shells for a few discreet pieces of autumn decor. One or two pine cones, a few little dried pumpkins, my favourite seasonal cushions and pictures and before I finished I replenished all the tea lights and candles in the holders. I have some lovely wooden candle holders which add a nice warmth to the room this time of year.

Whilst taking these pictures I smile to myself …. just out of shot is absolute chaos in our house – we may be doing the pantry conversion from the smallest room in the house, the downstairs cloakroom, but every room in the house is now upset. To get more lighting and sockets fitted DH had to pull back the carpet in the bedroom above….I could have guessed…have been here before – so all the furniture had to be taken out and temporarily put where we can.

Despite all the mess – I made more, and have been crafting over the weekend – remember this knitting….

With the help of this book I found called Simple Knitting by Erika Knight I finally manage to finish the knitting part of this little hooded jumper and have only to sew the seams together now. Whether it will fit little Sweetie is another matter – I rather think it might be passed straight on to little Freddie – do you think the colours too girly? I can’t decide.

The four teatowels below came in a pack from Sainsbury’s in the sale. They are a good weight of cotton with a slight linen slub or waffle and my idea is to turn them into place mats. Two tea towels will cut down to make 2 place mats. So the striped grey will be backed with the plain grey and the dashed white backed with the plain white. We only need two mats most of the time being on our own now, so they will do us fine. I will need to buy some heavier vilene interfacing to sandwich between the two layers so they keep a good shape – but it is shopping day tomorrow so I can get some in town. Next time you see these I hope they will be made and on my table.

I have also been having a bit of a play around with ideas for Christmas presents and cards. So out came the sketch pad and pencil – had to dust it off a bit! In April I bought 5 of these calendars on stands for around £2 each, from Sainsbury’s clearance sale, with the intention of designing and printing my own calendar pages for 2020 and switching them over.

The original calendars had some quite nice little line drawings so I had thought about doing a simple lino cut print reflecting each of the months but time might be short now and twelve is a lot of designs to work on and print.

Calendar

– so I decided to look through my sketch book for drawings that could be adapted.

This is still an idea in the making and I will have to do a few mock ups first to see what might work. I am no artist but some of the sketches will pass….I think. Whilst I had the sketch book handy I scanned in a few pages of drawings – these were mostly done in the days when we had more time and well before the grandchildren arrived on the scene!!

I keep intending to try to get in the habit of doing a sketch each day so that I might improve, but am not sure how I would fit it in.

And what better to occupy my time on a cold and miserable day than trying out a new recipe. I have been wanting to try this recipe for a long time – I think it is from Good Housekeeping magazine. I didn’t quite have all the right ingredients so had to improvise.

I just happened to have chestnut and ordinary mushrooms but no dried ones and I used a vegetable stock cube rather than the yeast extract, but it still tasted fine – in fact it was really delicious – but be warned I made two strudels from the mixture – the second one was much smaller but there is ample filling.

Mine doesn’t look quite as good as their picture – the cooking time seemed rather long and the crumpled filo pastry that you lay on top caught a bit whilst in the oven…. and the sesame seeds didn’t seem to want to stay on top. I might do this bit slightly differently next time or even use a different pastry, puff pastry perhaps.

I will add the recipe to the list in a day or two. For now I will have to close – it is my brother’s birthday today and I need to go and surprise him with a card – then I have a big mess to clean up.

Hope you all had a brilliant weekend despite the rain. x

dear diary :: sing to me, Autumn

Home once more and we are truly into Autumn now; but hasn’t it been a glorious month – apart from bouts of heavy rain (my sympathies go out to anyone that has been hit by a flood).

The words of the poem ‘Sing to me, Autumn’ are a perfect reflection of this moment and encapsulate the beauty of the season – the sunlight streaming onto the garden this morning was so beautiful – casting deep shadows whilst highlighting the crimson red berries of the cotoneaster… I reached for my camera but it is so hard to get a good photo. There is an abundance of berries down by the seat – we have left it out a little longer as it is such a nice sheltered place to sit and admire the last of the season’s flowers.

Our blinds are being drawn earlier each evening and some of the solar lights left out in the garden are struggling to stay on for very long. I am looking forward to all that the dark evenings and cooler weather brings – after the ‘gathering in’ time it is beginning to feel like the ‘snuggling down’ time.

As usual, after the wonderful slow life at the cottage, we hit the ground running once we are home. I have a long list of lunch dates to fulfill and phone calls to make – there are finances to catch up on and the garden still needs a bit of TLC. I won’t even mention the housework and cleaning that is obviously needed.

Oh and have you thought about Christmas yet?

…….No, ….. very sensible…..I would normally shriek at the very mention in September….but I feel this year that I want to get ahead as I am finding, in the more recent of past years, that everything gets so hectic and stressful the closer we get to December and I try to pack in far too much in those last 3 weeks.  So rather than rush through it I would prefer to savour each moment and enjoy the concerts and Christmas events (that I often miss through lack of time) having completed all the necessary preparations in good time.

I have made a start and though I said I wouldn’t, I relented a few days later when in Tesco… right in front of my nose the new Country Living Christmas magazine appeared – (of course I blame Sadie at Notes from an ordinary life for persuading me as I noticed she had also bought a Christmas magazine and that made me feel so much better!). I kept last years too so hopefully they will spark off some new ideas.

I am mainly thinking about the gifts (we don’t have many to buy or make) – our family takes part in a ‘Not so Secret Santa’ – though I have a feeling this may change again this year – my daughters, who say they have everything they need, have expressed a preference for having a family gathering or event that gives us memories rather than any gifts, so this may be our step towards a no gifts Christmas within the family other than the young children. I will await the whole family vote on this but I personally would find it a lovely idea and support it.   

So it is mainly just a few friends who like to receive my homemade offerings -though I could be wrong and be like Ella of Thrush Green in the Miss Read books,  giving horrendous handmade gifts that people then give away as fast as they can – I haven’t as yet knitted any ties… wonky or otherwise!! 

I also enjoy making the décor, keeping it as natural as I can and of course the Christmas cards (I am thinking another lino cut this year as I enjoy doing those) and perhaps now is the time to start looking at sketching out a few design ideas rather than sitting down on the first day of December and saying today I will make the Christmas cards and then not having a clue as to what I might do.

And what a stroke of luck to find Sainsbury’s are celebrating Organic September (never understand why it is not Organic October – has a better ring to it) and those who know me well will also know I eat organic food most of the time so our Christmas cake is naturally an organic one.   Anyway, Sainsbury’s have reductions across their organic range so I filled my trolley with the fruit for my cake and the nuts for the nut roast.  I am well pleased though it bumped my shopping bill up quite a bit.

Whilst in Sainsbury’s I bought this snuggly top. I have bought very little throughout the year – it has not been quite ‘a no shop’ year but close – this little top will be ideal for those chilly days at home or when visiting my friend for coffee, who has minimal heating on and I do find it a bit cool at times so tend to go in a few discreet layers.

Remember I collected a few flower heads and petals to press at the caravan – well they are now quite flat and ready to go. The only means of pressing them at the caravan was to use some kitchen roll between the pages of a notebook so the textured pattern of small dots on the kitchen roll has imprinted onto the petals but I quite like it! I have bundled them into some cellophane bags to protect them. My favourites must be the delicate blue campanula, the white daisy heads of the chamomile and the vintage hues of the hydrangea petals. I just have to find a little time to turn them into some cards and tags.

For the rest of today I will be attending to the last of our cooking apples from the cottage garden. I am thinking an apple loaf would be just right and maybe a crumble using the blackberries for tea.

Have a lovely day x

dear diary :: a day of accomplishments

I had a rather disproportionate feeling of accomplishment yesterday to the amount of things I actually got done but it felt good to do something and move forward.

The washer is now working a treat and together with the warm wind I managed to wash and line dry a couple of loads so I have a pile of fluffy white towels waiting to go into the airing cupboard and an assortment of clothes to iron.

It is important that I keep up the daily routines I have developed since leaving work even when they seem to go astray or I have to abandon them for a while; checking emails, doing the ironing, shining the sink, entering receipts, planning the meals, taking my supplements, eating an apple – they bring a sense of accomplishment each day in themselves – if anything else gets done then that is a sure win.

We emptied the old cloakroom of its contents – this is only a small part of it above in the picture. It was a bit like Mary Poppin’s bag once we delved in there and now the stuff, that was once quite contained in the smallest room of the house, has spread itself into every free corner throughout the kitchen, dining area and living room resembling that expanding foam when you release it from the tube. I am looking at it wondering if it will all fit back in when it becomes the pantry.

Of course not everything is due to go back and it is this stuff I must deal with. I have decided that a car boot sale is the way to go as we have things not easy to sell by means of ebay because of the weight and I would rather try and get rid of it all in one day rather than string it out. We have a lack of boot sales round us so I am looking to go to Bedale near my daughter. They hold one every Saturday until mid October – she says it is quite a good one and she has room to store the stuff in her house until we have a nice collection together, and she can add in some of her unwanteds.

Once empty DH set too like the guy Jonathan you may have seen on the program Buying and Selling and within no time had hacked the tiles off the wall and then created himself a little sauna with the wallpaper steamer going full pelt.

The wallpaper is now scraped off but we need to remove the old patchy magnolia paint beneath until we get back to the bare plaster; then we will have a good sound surface to apply the paint on the walls.

Whislt he was working away I enjoyed a relaxing couple of hours with my neighbour catching up with news and airing our thoughts on the state of the country. I am not a very political person but I am worried about our politicians at the moment and the fact that we are being led into unknown territory and what is the real motive for this. It is rather overwhelming especially when I feel what we need is a bit of stability and reassurance.

Enough said on that topic.

I tried a new recipe for tea – it worked out well and tasted delicious, a relatively simple and inexpensive meal using red lentils, sweet potato, red peppers and mushrooms with halloumi cheese slices placed on top. The picture does not do it justice – the one in the magazine looks much more appetising! I will certainly be including it in our meals for the coming season. I will put the recipe up under the new Recipe tab above.

I have an assortment of recipe clippings to file away in my folders – so that will be a job for today. I have the guest bedding washed and waiting to go out on the line – it looks a dry sunny day here so far. Then I am going to look at the finances, reviewing last months figures and planning for September.

August seemed a long month but I am sad we are at an end as it signifies the end of summer too. The mornings are seeing a definite change now and a lot of the flowers are already dying back. But there is something quite comforting in nature as it always continues from one season to another and we adapt to the changes; always looking forward to repeating those little pleasurable activities that come with each of the seasons and ones which we will no doubt have done many times before.

My favourite at this time of year is definitely blackberry picking and collecting the Bramley apples to make pies and crumbles, I am sure you will have your own too. I will mourn the end of summer whilst eagerly awaiting the cooler weather and darker nights – when I can snuggle down with blankets and candles by the fire and watch a few favourite period dramas.

Have a lovely day everyone. x

dear diary :: worn out

Needless to say the intentions I intended yesterday did not happen. The engineer came just after lunch – was a lovely man – very knowledgeable – located and fixed the problem in no time – and best of all it was only a small fault – charged £38 and no call out fee – I could have hugged him! If anyone lives in the West Yorkshire area the company that we used are here called Advanced Domestic Appliance Services in Wakefield – I can highly recommend them.

For the rest of the day I was too worn out to do very much – the events of the last few weeks have taken their toll and I ended up having an afternoon nap for an hour to make up for my nights of interupted sleep. When I am stressed I suffer with night terrors – badly – they wake DH up too. I have not as yet lept out of the window like some sufferers. It is a fault with the primal limbic brain not switching off and prevents deep sleep too.

I am finding it difficult to let go of the constant worry – it floods into my mind as soon as I wake up in the morning and niggles away all day. Like my friend’s neighbour, who always referred to her grandchild as ‘that baby’ (we never discovered what sex it was), we are tending to refer to our disasterous day of drama and crisis as ‘that day’. Life is now classified by the terms before ‘that day’ and after ‘that day’ just like BC and AD is used to place an event on a timeline.

We did go to Sainsbury’s for the shopping though, spent more than we had allowed for but managed to stay in the black – just. There are only 2 more days of August thank goodness – so two no spend days are in order. The £80 bill included multiple buys of some of the more expensive items we use that were on offer, toothpaste, muesli, large pack butter, lightbulbs – it made sense to buy them with such large savings. I think. I noticed the fresh veg and fruit is really rising in price and we bought quite a bit so we can make and freeze soup. There was an extra 5p on bread this week too.

Whilst in town we went to the library to return the children’s books I took out for Little L. We can park at the smaller town centre Sainsbury’s for two hours if you spend £5. In my mind it is better to pay £5 for the parking and come away with some groceries than pay £1 an hour in the other car parks and come away with nothing.

I had a good browse in the Library and decided on this little stack. I don’t know why I prefer non-fiction to fiction – I suppose I like to learn things. DH had the Look and Learn magazine when he was little and is like a walking Google having retained a lot of information from an early age. All I read was Bunty! But I loved it and cracked the code before joining the club to get the badge, which I still have.

I started on this book called ‘The Life of Stuff’ by Susannah Walker. I worry about how captivated I become reading about other people’s stuff or reading decluttering books by the dozen – is that normal? Anyway I couldn’t put it down…….. so adding to my sleep deprivation…ah well perhaps an early night tonight.

So today we really are going to start on the pantry and I will try out the washer too – it is a good windy day and great for drying towels and making them super soft.

First we have to empty the old cloakroom and find somewhere to store the stuff that we mean to keep in the pantry when it is finished and get rid or find new homes for the items that will not be going back in there.

I find this kind of decluttering in a dumping ground hard. It is usually full of stuff that does not have a proper home – oddments, large bulky things, items that cannot be kept in the loft or garage as the extremes of temperature would affect it, or purchases that have been bought ready for some time in the future – like the shower unit we bought to install at the cottage (somehow I don’t think it will be needed very soon as that is another project on the shelf at the moment!).

So what am I waiting for – better go and get on with it because today I usually go round to my neighbours in the afternoon for a catch up chat and a cuppa.

Welcome to my new followers – just to say if you have only just joined in the reading of my blog this is a kind of bleak period in my life so do forgive my little moans – I am usually a happy little soul. x

dear diary :: getting back into our stride

Getting back into normal daily life is proving more difficult than it should be and I am currently somewhere between feeling frazzled and lethargic. Both the car and the washing machine are waiting to be fixed, hence a growing pile of washing is building up, and the towels retrieved from the washer have eventually dried into such a rigid state they might crack if I try to fold them. They will have to be washed again I think as I have no idea where in the washing cycle they had got to before the machine ground to a halt.

To top it all the rain is now preventing us tackling jobs outside like cutting the grass and weeding the borders. The tomatoes are only just turning colour so a little more sunshine would be good. The lettuce seeds that Little L helped me sow last week have already sprung to life – what a shame she cannot see them. She was so helpful and loves to water the garden.

I thought this might be the opportunity I have been waiting for to make some cards and finish those half started knitting and sewing projects, but somehow in all the upset I feel going on around me I have little enthusiasm for crafts.

Our fridge is quite bare at the moment – a bit of a Mother Hubbard’s cupboard so some shopping today is required but it will be limited to the basics as it is the end of the month and funds are excessively low. Living on one state pension, even with the top up of a small private pension, is proving difficult as prices continue to rise and we face a few unexpected bills. We have also bought a number of cafe meals and cups of tea whilst trundling around the countryside of North Yorkshire over the Bank holiday with my mum – but she is truly grateful that we get to take her out.

As we have a run of days at home now before take off again I have proposed that we tackle the long awaited transformation of the downstairs cloakroom / toilet into the pantry. We never used the toilet and many of our neighbours have incorporated them into their kitchens to make them bigger but I would value more storage as a walk in pantry. We will be leaving all the necessary connections in place under the floor should a future owner want to return it to a downstairs cloakroom.

We have finally chosen and had the units for the new pantry delivered from IKEA and took advantage of their 0% interest deal; keeping our money in the bank longer. Unfortunately the shop assistant made an error with the application so the total amount was more than the actual goods – when I pointed out her mistake it was too late to amend the application and so the monthly payments are higher than they should be by a few pounds and we are £54 in credit! Obviously it will get sorted but really they should not have people dealing with money that cannot add up.

DH will set about stripping wallpaper and tiles off the walls but not until I have emptied the room of all the ‘junk’ – it has become a bit of a dumping ground – a place to put those things that are waiting for a home. There is even a couple of boxes of stuff in there I have been storing for one of my daughters.

So this looks like my task for today before we go shopping. I can make a start whilst waiting for the washing machine engineer to come. I think doing a bit of decluttering and tidying is just what I need at the moment to organise my brain.

Have a good day – I will be back with photos. x

dear diary :: back home again

Have you ever felt like you are constantly on the move from place to place and don’t have time to settle. Last Wednesday our younger daughter came to stay for a few days with Little L and Sweetie then we took them back home to North Yorkshire on Saturday staying on at her house so that we could take my mum out on Sunday and Bank holiday Monday and then travelled back down home yesterday after taking the girls out for the day to their local park.

Both DH and I are shattered. Having a mix of two lively children, an infirm mum and the blazing heat consolidated into a few days is not a recipe for relaxation – everyone seems to be needing our services at the moment in one way or another and we are dividing out our time amongst them. So my stress level is a bit high and I am trying hard to remember what I was doing at home before all this. It is not quite the retirement I had imagined.

I know I have paper work to attend to – bank statements to check, meals to plan and a shopping list to write and then I think a little bit of gentle housewifery will be in order – some mindful tidying and dusting. When we have had a few days recovery and the car has been to the garage and fixed of the engine fault which turned out to be one of the filters being blocked then we will be off to the cottage again but at the moment I am quite content to be at home in the peace and quiet.

Recent events in our life have left us quite worn out and our coping skills rather weakened so just when you think ‘things’ in life cannot get any worse it seems that inevitably they do.

We had a bad day last Friday when my daughter and grandaughters were here. It was the first of the warm sunny days after the rain and we decided we would all go on a picnic to our local park and my elder daughter and little Freddie joined us too. So there was both our daughters and 3 grandchildren; seven of us in all, a cool bag full of goodies and a tin of buns Little L had carefully decorated for the occassion.

We found a picnic table in the shade by the duck pond and got our spread out. We were all enjoying ourselves when a man came along with five assorted dogs and sat himself down on one of the empty tables near to us and let all the dogs off the lead for a good run around and toileting whilst he browsed his mobile. Unfortunately they made a bee line towards us and our food.

Although I do like dogs I am nervous around them since an attack by two Alsatian guard dogs kept by a neighbour when I was six – I was taking some tomatoes next door from my dad just as they had been let out of their cage. They rushed towards me before the neighbour could grab them and he shouted to me to stand still – I did but they bit me anyway!

More recently when our own children were only toddlers we were sitting on Scarborough beach and a large dog came bounding up to us and unexpectedly cocked his leg up against me and wee’d on us all soaking me and the babies. I can tell you dog wee in your face is not very pleasant!

So you could say I like dogs at a distance but if one comes towards me I freeze and inwardly panic and I am very watchful when we have the children with us.

I felt quite frightened as the five dogs, all shapes and sizes were suddenly surrounding us and the smallest of them were then under the table snapping at our feet. One in particular kept advancing towards Little L’s mini scotch egg – you can see here in the picture his eyes are fixed on it – DH tried to shoo them away but the man objected and said if we did this they would certainly bite us which caused me to panick more not knowing what to do to protect ourselves.

We asked him politely but firmly to call his dogs back as the children by this time were becomming quite upset and starting to cry especially Little L as she has been bitten before. He just laughed and said this was a ‘dog friendly park’ and the dogs had every right to be off the lead and we shouldn’t come to the park if we didn’t want to be near dogs.

I know he has a point but there is nowhere dog free to go with the children anymore as more and more places even cafes, supermarkets and hotels become pet friendly – so we try to fit in with this best we can but feel we are always on dog watch when we are out. Normally most people do not let their dogs pester you like he did so it is not a huge problem.

He then became very obnoxious and although he called their names a couple of times the dogs just ignored him and continued to pester us as we tried to eat our picnic but by this time I was shaking and felt very threatened by the dogs not leaving us alone. The owner was taking great pleasure in being obstinate and when I said I was fearful because of previously being bitten and that I was visibly shaking he said he hoped I had a heart attack.

Although two of the smaller dogs eventually disappered off into the rest of the park the whole situation had become impossible so in the end we had to pack up our food and retreat to a bench within the tiny fenced play area which is dog free but with no picnic tables or grass. The whole incident was quite distressing.

Later in the day we happened upon the park caretaker – he knew the man we had encountered and the dogs and said they had had trouble with him taking his dogs into the library too and other dog owners in the park. He sympathised and said he should have kept them away from our food but said there was nothing he could do as dogs are allowed in the park and it is only advisory they are kept on the lead and cannot be enforced – he then made a quick retreat.

What a shame that some dog lovers can’t appreciate that not everyone feels the same about dogs and are frightened by them no matter how lovable and cute they seem to them and we are certainly not keen on them hovering around us while we are eating our food. So in contrast it was so lovely to go to Masham park yesterday where they have a much larger dog free fenced play area with picnic tables and grass within it and all the children could play happily and free of stepping in dog poo.

To further compound our stress after the park incident we arrived home to find the washer had gone into fault mode and it took DH an hour to retrieve the dripping wet towels inside. We are now waiting on the engineer and no doubt more expense.

Ah well life continues. What else can go wrong?

Hope you all had a wonderful Bank holiday and enjoyed the weather – bit hot at times for me.

PS – this post has just reminded me that we saw a minature horse in Sainsbury’s in Northallerton a while ago. Apparently they are being trained as service animals in place of dogs. It did sound rather odd hearing the clip clop on the tiles down the aisles – usually with the service dogs you never hear them just see them.

dear diary :: one crisis too many

Thank you to those who have left me comments wishing me well….I have tried a few times to write here… and then given up – sometimes I have been too tired, sometimes just too fed up and sometimes my brain is just past doing anything……but I know myself when a blogger goes quiet for a while it is always comforting to hear from them now and again and know everything is OK – I wish everything in my world was OK but a recent event has left my family in pieces and this has just felt like one crisis too many to cope with. Over the past few years we have had the sudden death of my dad, the diagnosis and treatment of my cancer and then the devastating flood at the cottage and of course last year three significant and unexpected deaths, two of them children.

We have hardly got over one tradgedy when another has struck and frankly I feel we have now experienced more than our fair share of major troubles.

This recent event is not my story to tell but we have had our lives turned upside down because of it. I am muddling through at the moment and blogging might be a bit erratic until things settle down again and we find a way through.

As usual when life throws difficult times at you it makes you question everything else in your life. My blog has always been my little personal space…a bit of a sanctuary and I am not ready to give it up – I just need a bit of time to get myself back on track…so if I am a little quiet you will hopefully understand why.

I have missed everyone and I know it is going to be so difficult to catch up on your stories – I have been reading a little from time to time but forgive my lack of comments.

I hope you have all had a lovely summer holiday – I fear there is a tinge of Autumn creeping in to the air now. xxx

dear dairy :: just surfacing to do a quick update

Thank you to those blog friends that are wondering where I am and if I am OK. The answer is….I am almost OK now after a very trying week.

We had our Aussie visitor, he arrived last Saturday, but has now gone to another relative and I am actually quite thankful as I have not been well since he came. I felt dreadful when I woke up on the Sunday with flu like symptoms, temperature, sore throat, swollen glands and aching all over but made the effort to get showered and dressed and we had a day out at the Open Gradens in Winster, Derbyshire – when all I really wanted to do was crawl back to bed. I think this was my mistake and the exertion up and down the hills forced the sore throat further down into my lungs. Since then it has all landed on my chest and seems to have attacked all my muscles and joints – this excessive dry heat is not helping.

DH ended up taking him out on Monday and Tuesday without me and managing the meals. To be honest we found it difficult to find things that he seemed interested in other than going for a beer and got little feedback when we went to the open gardens even though we were told that he liked gardens. To top it all he stayed an extra day than was planned originally and I found it all a bit too stressful. It is lovely now we can have the bedroom door open at night and sleep on top of the duvet to keep cool.

Little L was supposed to be coming tomorrow and I know she will be so disappointed but there is no way I could look after her as I feel at present; maybe another days recovery might make it all better.

Just to let everyone know about my hospital test results – I am now officially moved into the lower risk category for the next five years. So good news there.

I also had a lovely birthday last Friday with friends and family popping in all day. When I feel more myself I will be back. Hope you are enjoying the weather – bit hot for me!!

Sorry if any spelling errors – I am off to lie down again now!