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!

dear diary :: ready to go

A much calmer day yesterday. I decided in the end to drive over to Leeds just after lunch and have the bloods done. The journey wasn’t too bad going, about an hour, and there was no one waiting in the waiting room for blood tests – in fact I panicked and thought they might have finished for the day as it was 3.15 in the afternoon but they finish at 5 o’clock so all was well.

We didn’t even have to pay for parking as we have discovered a road not far from Jimmy’s that is free for 2 hours and there is often the odd spot vacant, so DH drops me off and then goes and waits until I call him.

Now it is fingers crossed for the results – I always stress a bit, even after 10 years, but hopefully the Thyroxine medication I take has done its job of suppressing any remaining cancer cells. It has worked up to now.

On the way home we stopped at Ikea and had our free drinks. Afterwards I popped into Boots to stock up on cottonwool as it is curretly 3 for 2 and then to Wilkos for a pack of wooden lolly sticks. After that it was home via Sainsbury’s for the petrol and I have bought a couple of cheap plain t-shirts £4 each for working in the garden.

DH has thrown away his old slippers – he has had them for more years than we care to remember – so long in fact that most of the rubber soles were no longer attached to the uppers. He had even contemplated sticking them back together but some of the sole had worn right through in places to a hole! So even he had to admit defeat as we could not think of an alternative use for them other than melting the rubber soles down to make something – he is ever the conservationist even down to his slippers!

But I was rather horrified later to look down whilst he was driving to Leeds and notice that he had not as yet thrown away the old trainers and even though we had bought new ones yesterday he was still wearing the old ones that should have, in my mind, joined the slippers in the bin! I live in hope.

My final task today was to rearrange a hairdressing appointment for when we return and see if my next renewal prescription is available online (thanks to Ann for that reminder) as I feel I need to stock pile my Thyroxine in case Brexit goes sour as I cannot live without this medication – it would be like taking insulin away from a diabetic – I am dependant on it as I no longer have a Thyroid gland and there is only one brand that does not have fillers that make me feel worse.

So with everything packed but the food I think you can say we are ready to go and by the time you read this we should be on our way. The house will be tidy and ready for our house guest whilst we are away.

I came to my decision about my blog and the pesky ads and have taken out a paid plan. So I will be remaining on WordPress for the time being and see how it goes. My new address is much the same but the WordPress.com has been dropped – so you will find me at my new address – wherethejourneytakesme2.blog – I am told if you use the old address you will be redirected. It may take a day or two for the changes so I hope it will be a smooth change over and hopefully, other than the address and no ads, you shouldn’t notice any difference.

It is a bit like moving house really but I didn’t need a solicitor.

Have a great weekend x

dear diary :: here, there and everywhere

What should have been a calm day yesterday spent packing and preparing turned into a bit of a frenzy.

The morning began with a little blogging, a little ironing and I also stripped the bed completely (mattress protector included) and put the washer on to make the most of the warm weather. So far so good…..

I was busy working slowly down the task list and making a pile of the clothes to take with us on our spare room bed when suddenly a car drew up outside and who should get out but our dear old friend Uncle Crisp (our daughter’s nickname for him not ours and who was best man at our wedding). He was on his way back up to Skye and thought he would drop in to see us. It was lovely that he did and we caught up on news and old times.

Then elder daughter appeared with little Freddie too.

As you can imagine from this point on not a lot got done. Uncle Crisp left and we had a late lunch and then DH and I went off to town for his dental appointment to replace an old filling. Afterwards we had to look for new slippers and some casual shoes / trainers for DH. It is usual that he leaves this kind of shopping to the last minute. He is no shopper. In fact he sees nothing wrong with his old trainers – he has had them for years, they are comfortable, well worn in and serve the purpose – but look to me like they need to go in the bin!

Two hours later with a renewed filling, new slippers and new trainers we came back home. But not much packing had got done.

However, the washing was dry.

But we both had a senior moment and forgot to remember to go for petrol – as we have a Sainsbury’s coupon to use for 10p off a litre and need a full tank to go to Scotland..

To add to my frenzy the blood envelope that was supposedly posted out to me last Friday (but had a post mark of Monday) arrived with the postman during the afternoon – far too late to consider going over to Leeds to have the blood taken. I had mentioned to them the urgency as we were going away but it never really registers! I need to have the blood taken before my holiday for the consultant’s appointment the day after we get back.

So all in all a strange day full of interuptions and as a consequence we are having to rethink our course of action and possibly delay our trip up to Scotland by a day as I feel otherwise we will be leaving here with a lot of loose ends that I haven’t managed to sort yet and that for me would be more stressful than having a day less holiday.

And I have still to work out just when we go over to Leeds for my blood tests. Life can feel like it is working against you some days.

To top it all it was green bin night – DH has a mental block over this since they moved it from Monday night to Wednesday night. Luckily I remembered in time so he wouldn’t have to go chasing after them with the wheelie bin in the morning.

Today should be a quieter day for me to finish the packing, clean round the house and move the pots in the garden out of the full sun. As everyone now thinks we will have left for Scotland we shouldn’t have any unexpected interuptions.

We will have to have my bloods done and get the petrol en route to Scotland tomorrow I think, unless we can get over to Leeds this afternoon. Although Leeds is only about 18 miles away St James hospital is out on the other side to us and it can take us up to 2 hours to get there depending on the traffic and the M62.

It is warm and sunny here today but with a strong cool breeze – I was hoping for a little rain overnight to fill up the water butt ready for our hand over to the neighbours to do the watering should it turn hot, but none came. Another job then for the list (well DH’s list)- to top it up with the hose pipe.

Using Opera browser to access Todoist is brilliant – it produces a clear PDF print of the whole list without all the header and footers cluttering it up. So I am all set with my ‘old fashioned’, non techie paper packing list to finish the packing today and I will feel pleasantly jubilant as I tick off each item.

We have already made nutloaf and soup to take (tick,tick) and over the last year have discovered by trial and error the best meals to make in the caravan using the calor gas oven so I have a little menu plan in my head for these.

So we are almost all set to go – what can go wrong now…..?

I can’t wait to get up there, unpack and flake out……now did I pack those gardening gloves?

dear diary :: computer malaise

In the last few days when I should have been preparing and packing for our holiday I have been sorting out computer related problems and now have come down with an attack of that modern day illness namely CFD (computer frustration disorder) for which there is no known cure.

Trying to get to the bottom of the WordPress advertising problem, then trying to find a way to get my usual monthly to do list and my cottage packing list I keep on Todoist to print out all the pages and not just the first one (a new glitch on their part which we told them about last month and is still not sorted) has seen me tearing my hair out.

Eventually we found a work around for the lists by logging into Opera browser and the print function through Opera takes a PDF of all the pages (who would have thought). But it only took us four hours of trial and error before coming up with this; and after I had scoured the internet for a new To do list provider that will do print outs at all as most of them think everyone just wants a list on a phone now! Progress!

And yes I could have written my lists out by hand in this time or use excell but Todoist was working fine for me up till now.

There appears to be no simple work around for the WordPress adverts though – and believe me DH and I have tried but because everyone has such personal settings on different devices there is no one adjustment that will fit all.

Anyone following this thread may have read all the comments over the last few days from readers and below in the highlighted sections is the email answer I had from WordPress who investigated my query about both the type and amount of ads now appearing on my site for some readers.

Please note my comments are the underlined italics at the end of each paragraph….

WordPress say “The banner ad at the top has been in use on free sites for over a year, and can be collapsed by clicking on the tab. (we were not informed of this banner)

The ad appearing directly above the sharing buttons is the original ad slot for all sites on WordPress.com, so ads have been appearing there for as long as we’ve been displaying ads on free sites. (Fair enough and I was always aware of this one and its placement and it had never appeared to be a problem to readers before).

The other ads that appear between paragraphs are known as inline ads. Those are relatively new, but they’re also supposed to be there. How many of them show varies, depending both on the length and structure of your post, and on factors related to the person viewing the ad (the latter is what determines which advertisers bid on the available ad slots – if no one bids on inline ads, they don’t display. (I wasn’t aware of these at all and we were not informed these would be added to our sites – I rarely visit my own site as a reader and if I do, because I am logged into my account, I would not see them – these ads seem to be the most frustrating to my readers).

So all the ads you’re seeing are supposed to be there, and are used to cover the cost to us of hosting your site for free. They can be removed via any of our paid plans. (The ransom notice!)

If you feel the content/subject matter of any ad is inappropriate, please click the “Report this ad” link on the ad itself to report it. We serve thousands of ads across millions of sites a day, and no two people visiting your site sees the same ads. Additionally this process is completely automated, so reporting the ad directly that way is the only way it’s possible for us to review a specific ad”. (Firstly, I never see the ads anyway so unlikely I would be the one reporting them and secondly, they are tailored to the reader so I would never see the same as them – the one I did catch a glimpse of was advertising for young girls to work at home – which seemed a bit dubious to me and I feel WordPress should be the ones monitoring this not our readers – it is too late once they have gone out.

So there you have it – WordPress have increased the amount of ads and not really mentioned this to their users and take no responsibility for the content – but well done Simone for speaking up and letting me know otherwise I would have remained oblivious to what is happening.

I think eventually because of their increased adverts WordPress will send more new bloggers to Blogger for those of us who just want a free personal blog and where you can personally choose to opt in or out of ads on your site so readers can read and comment without being put off by a bombardment of pop up ads.

For anyone who is troubled with ads on sites they love to visit, and not just for my site, you can adjust your settings to a more strict mode but be aware this can also prevent you accessing some sites as it will also prevent cookies and most sites run with enabled cookies. Using Firefox or Opera as a browsing mechanism and of course Safari with Apple will limit ad problems.

Moving forward – as far as this blog is concerned it seems I have only two choices:-

Switch to Blogger ….or

Pay WordPress the ransom money – I am presuming here that they will just keep on increasing the number of ads over time until a blogger is forced to have a paid site.

Perhaps I need a holiday to think it over!

PS: whilst writing this post something quite unexpected happened – I have been spelling WordPress throughout with a small ‘p’ but when I preview the post it has always changed automatically to a capital. So isn’t it amazing that now WordPress do not have a spell check facility for a post any longer, as mentioned by me in an earlier post, they do have some setting to automatically change their name to what they think is the correct spelling. Even though I am writing WordPress now with a small p I have no doubt when you read this it will have changed to a capital P. If it has then why can’t they have a spell check for everything?????

PPS: apologies for any typo’s and spellnig mistakes.

dear diary :: catching up with life at home

I am back at home now. Looking out of my window this morning the world outside was damp and grey with a blanket of fog. I wondered what was best to do with my time. It certainly wasn’t gardening weather so I opted for pottering about the house. There is always plenty to do and although we arrived home last Thursday night I have not completely unpacked yet – not through laziness (well maybe a little) but once home I seemed to hit the ground running.

One of the reasons for coming home was to attend my extra six week Therapeutic Yoga classes I signed up for on a Friday afternoon. These classes are all about breathing – breathing into different areas that correspond with the chakras, concentrating on how the breath feels and making notes. After completing a series of yoga positions we breathe into those same areas again and notice the difference, breathing is deeper and easier and it is amazing how different you feel….more alive, relaxed, open – I am so glad I decided to do this course and will carry on in my own time when it comes to an end next week.

After the class I was feeling exceptionally calm and relaxed so it was a bit of a shame that DH and I had to pop down to town to buy some food for the weekend – an hour in Sainsbury’s isn’t condusive to relaxation but we needed to stock up with fresh fruit and vegetables. At the moment I am making quite simple meals, fresh vegetables with chickpeas in a stock for flavour and a little brown rice mixed in, last night was roasted vegetables with couscous and tonight a brown lentil stew with sweet potato and leeks and a thick chunk of bread.

Last Saturday was a day spent finishing some half started projects. DH has been fitting a door knob and lock to the new shed door and we brought the cooker down from the cottage to replace the one at home here. Although it had survived both the flood and being put in a skip it has stood in the conservatory all this time with no real home. As some readers will know my oven here at home as been on the blink for some months getting hot one day and not another. On the days it refused to heat up we resorted to using the small oven but this was not ideal as it did not cook meals that well. So we managed to heave the cooker into the back of our car to bring down home. Once we had given it a thorough wipe down (it is still like new) our electrician son-in-law helped to swap them over and wired it in. The old one will be no use to anyone and it is well over 20 years old and was second hand to us from my sister.

I like things that last a long time there are so many products that are disposable these days.

The replacement cooker from the cottage is a very basic stainless steel Zanussi with old fashioned solid hotplates and no separate grill but at least the oven works. We bought it new when we first had the cottage and we chose something quite robust in case we let the cottage out. It will do us fine until we can replace our kitchen and buy a new intergrated one.

To freshen it up I put sliced oranges in a bowl of water with a few drops of lemon oil, placed it in the oven and turned the oven on. The aroma was gorgeous and now the inside smells clean and fresh too.

And now I have an oven that works I feel like trying some new recipes again so have been revisiting old cookery books.

In and amongst I have been doing a little housekeeping inside – hoovering, sweeping and washing floors….. and socks….

…..and a little housekeeping outside – deadheading the annuals in pots, feeding the plants and tying in the wandering clematis.

I also cut and tagged the pale pink and white aquilegia and the bunches are hanging upside down in the shed to dry out so I can collect the seed.

The garden is looking lovely and buzzing with bees – my peonies had burst into life whilst we were away – I had waited for this moment for so long now watching the buds grow and fatten…and now they are simply beautiful and I cannot stop admiring them… they are just in the right spot to see them from my kitchen window as I wash up. What a shame they are usually over very quickly but for the moment I can just stand and stare.

The lettuce and courgettes are just about ready for picking and my seeds have sprouted – we just need a little more sun.

Tomorrow it is my usual yoga class and on Wednesday I will see the doctor about my knee as up to now it is not getting any easier. DH has to have his front tyres changed this week – more expense but overall I think our spending has been a bit lighter during June even with the trip to Scotland.

We have plans to try and look at kitchens again while the summer sales are on, at the same time we are trying to progress our cottage plans and arrange some time between commitments to have our summer holiday. Oh and not to forget making progress again on the pantry.