dEAr diary ~ a shortage of time

“I’m busy, man, too busy. There’s a lamentable absence of free time”.
Juan Pablo Montoya

Firstly welcome to my new followers and apologies for the longer than intended absence – I hadn’t actually intended an absence at all…of any kind, but there you are… it happened…and even though I have tried a few times to sit and write this post I have been unsuccessful each time in finishing it.  I seem to have been busy – a kind of business that involves a lot of this and that and not a lot of anything I would call really productive.

But surprisingly things have been getting done and as it has been a while since I last did a post I’ll just fill you in quickly.

Baby X now has a name but for the purpose of my blog I will be referring to him as Freddie.  His cousin Little L is fast growing into Big L now – but I just cannot refer to her as Big L so she will now be known on my blog as Libbie.  So there you have my merry little band of three grandchildren – Libbie, Sweetie and Freddie.

On the first Friday in February we set off mid morning for North Yorkshire to go to the village pantomime that my sister and her DH were taking part in.  The sun was shining and the traffic not too bad.  We treated ourselves to a Costa lunch of toasties at the Wetherby services as we were saving our homemade soup for tea at our daughter’s house.

We had a further stop in Thirsk for a walk around and a browse in my favourite independent book shop White Rose books.  I picked up a copy of this book for £3.99 reduced from £12.99 and bought a book token for my mum for her birthday, then on to Holland and Barrett to get a packet of yummy chocolate raisins for the pantomime later.Little Sew & SewThere are some delightful projects to make inside – I particularly like the embroidered peg bag.We had tea with my daughter and then set off for the panto with Libbie (Little L) who if you remember was ‘super’ excited – unfortunately the snow became very bad on the way through Bedale and we didn’t know whether to turn back or press on.  In the end we kept going and made it to the village hall to the north of Northallerton just in time for the start.

The panto was brilliant, Libbie laughed and cheered and clapped – she loved the fact her Uncle N was the baddy and Aunty A was Aladdin in a wonderful glittery costume.  It was a very fun night and afterwards we decided that we would try to get back to my daughter’s house outside Masham, rather than stay at my sisters.  A decision we may have lived to regret!  We took a longer alternative route back via the A1(M).  Two of the lanes were still running thanks to the lorries but once we got back onto the country lanes towards Masham it almost turned out to be a challenge too far as the snow was covering and becoming quite slippy and we were down to 20 mph.  Just after midnight we had got as far as Fearby but still had a few miles to go to Leighton Resevoir,  which is in the middle of nowhere on a road full of steep twist and turns and ungritted.  I am still not sure how we got up the final hill to my daughter’s farmhouse but with a wing and a prayer we did and of course stayed the night with her.  Libbie slept through the whole adventure in the back of the car – but never again. The next morning we woke to brilliant sunshine and the snow had started to melt.  The roads were clear once again and it was hard to believe it was the same place we had struggled to drive through in the early hours.  DH and Libbie went out to make snow castles and then we headed home stopping here and there to admire the beautiful views as we drove past the resevoir and back into Masham. Leighton Resevoir Fearby Since then I have been busy helping with little Freddie  – his mum, my elder daughter, had to go back again to hospital with her problem but hopefully all will be well now.

When I have had some free time I have been turning my attentions to jobs around the home  – It feels like an endless task list and I seem to have a number of projects on the go in each room but slowly it is all starting to come together.  I find that going back over a space I have already cleared often throws up more things that I no longer wish to keep.

The paperwork continues to be a headache and to add to this I have amassed a large number of files on my computer so I have been giving this a bit of a spring clean to get rid of old stuff and free up some space.   It is quite time-consuming going through a mass of folders but just like having a major clear out in my physical files clearing out my files on the computer feels just as good and I don’t have to bother shredding or burning it all.

I have also been giving our finances a bit of a makeover too, trying to simplify matters where I can and in doing so we were invited to a financial review with the Nationwide, our main banking and savings provider, and this proved quite useful.  We have transferred money to better interest accounts and closed down old ones no longer required.

We had a nice surprise too – the HMRC made an error with our marriage allowance application which has now been straightened out after a phone call and I await a cheque for £238 – every little helps. ValentineWe didn’t really celebrate Valentine’s day other than exchange cards.  I have had my Valentine card for a while now – I must have bought it a couple of years ago and then forgotten about it.  I often make my own but when I found it during a recent clear out I thought it would save me the job of making one and it is quite cute – I love the fact it has a little flask on the end of the bench – very appropriate for us now – I have no doubt this is what DH and I will look like in a few years time!

DH made one for me (he probably hadn’t thought about a card until the shops were shut) – but I think it is rather sweet and means so much more to me than a bought one.ValentinesThe meal planning continues and for some reason we have had a few pastry dishes.  The Carrot and Leek pasties were a hit and great for picnics – I will make them again –  and this week I made a cheese and tomato Quiche.Quiche QuicheTonight it is curry and it would have helped if I had known we didn’t have any curry paste in the cupboards.  We had to have a mad dash to the local supermarket but their range is limited so I had to buy a jar.  I am wondering if it will freeze – anyone tried this?

Hope everyone is well – I have been trying to keep up with all the blogs I visit though may not have commented very much.  I usually post a list of my monthly intentions at the beginning of the month but I might just start these again in March – February is not a long month and with the new baby each day has been a bit unpredictable for us so we have not been making many plans.

Back soon x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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dEAr diary ~ getting more things done

Not quite so productive today but I have been busy.

I started this morning doing my 10 minute financial tally – fine so far – and then I chose one of the longer outstanding financial tasks to do from my list.  This was to inform the Inland Revenue of my change of circumstances as there might be a possible tax rebate and to transfer part of my personal tax allowance under the married allowance rules to DH so that his combined pension, state and private, does not attract as much tax.

I tried to do this on the website but failed as there was a problem with the application.  So I resorted to the phone which I can tell you is long and laborious.  Firstly, you talk to a recorded voice (which sounds like a person but could be a robot?) – they ask you a question and then you say an answer and then silence…and then they say did you say xyz and so it goes on.  In between the answers you give they suggest you use the website – well of course who would be phoning and subjecting themselves to this rigmarole needlessly if you could get the information or apply on the website!

And why they think anyone else would ring impersonating you and subject themselves to a long and frustrating wait is beyond me but they obviously do as the Inland Revenue help line are introducing a voice recognition service if you wish to sign up…I decided not…I might lose my place in the queue and have to start over again.

It leaves you feeling why can’t a real person answer the phone in the first place.  Eventually someone did – a lovely man who couldn’t get the application to go through either and will have to escalate it up to someone else who can – but they will write to me – hopefully with a nice cheque!!

After that ordeal I made a phone call to my daughter to check on progress – nothing happening at the moment – all is good and no sign of baby coming early.  I then set to and ironed yesterday’s washing, made the Leek and Potato soup for lunch (it had become a bit of a late lunch by this time) and whilst that was cooking I washed and prepared the salad items and some vegetables we bought last night to keep ready in the fridge.  I find pre-preparing some things saves a lot of time later when we come to make a meal.

We then sat down after lunch for 10 minutes but became engrossed in the Wartime Farm – I love this series of programs and just had to watch it to the end.  I wonder if we would be as able to provide for ourselves now as they did then.  The men and women found such ingenious ways of substituting when food and other things like soap were scarce.

It must have been just after 4pm when I got out into the garden.  I filled the new pot with compost and decided for the time being to put the pansies in it.  They do look really pretty.  It was six o’clock when I came in after doing a bit of tidying up and emptying pots of plants that are completely over so too dark to take a photo – I will go out in the morning to take some.

DH had a really bad back today and I wouldn’t let him go out to do anymore digging and heaving paving slabs about.  It is quite a mess by the side of the house and I shall be glad when all is done and we can put the compost bins back in place and start using them again.

Looking back at today’s tasks that I did get done perhaps I was more productive than I thought – but the paper piles still remain – I shall do a bit more on that tomorrow.

Must go now to ring mum before tea. x

 

 

 

 

 

 

dEAr diary ~ getting things done bit by bit

After sleeping on it we came to a decision and went out on Sunday morning to resolve the pot issue.  Totties Nursery had the large frost resistant pot we liked but not the colour – so we drove on to Wyevale Garden Centre, they had both the pot and the colour.  The ticket on the pot said £29.99 – I used my £3 off Wyevale voucher and they also accepted a £10 National garden token making the cost of the pot £16.99 ( much more in line with our new budget).  In a separate transaction I  bought 3 trays of pansies on offer for £10 and used my £5 voucher – a total of £5 spent.  Not a bad saving although we did get absolutely soaked choosing them.

All I need to do now is to fill the pot with compost and add the plants – I cannot decide between the pansies or cyclamens for the new pot.  I will need to sleep on it!

Today it has been really damp and cold here.  I brought the washing in after lunch as it really wasn’t drying in the damp air but DH managed to soldier on moving paving slabs around outside ready to dig out to lay the concrete.  He is groaning with a little back ache tonight – so maybe I will be on the washing up.

After writing a meal plan and shopping list most of the day has been spent dealing with paperwork – bits and pieces of loose ends.  I feel a bit swamped with piles of paper and I must get rid of a lot of it – there is no easy way to file and remember some of the articles I have torn out of magazines in case they might be useful so I have decided it has to go.

I spent a few minutes cutting the fronts off a pile of old birthday cards – some I keep to turn into tags and the rest I will take to the Welcome Centre where some lovely dedicated ladies will make them into new cards to resell.  The back of the card goes into the recycling.

I have also spent an hour perhaps two going through emails and deleting what I can – I now have an inbox of none but I am sure it will fill up again soon.  The plan is to check them every morning when I do my financial checks and receipts which I am happy to report are completely up to date.  The system of 10 minutes each morning is working well so I will add on another 10 minutes to deal with the emails and see how it goes.

I have chosen Monday as my weekly shop day but after going to Sainsburys during the daytime recently and finding it far too busy I have reverted to going at about 5.30pm as I did when I was working.  It is not crowded at all at this time and although it is about 7.30pm when I get home I don’t mind as we can have a quick and easy tea – in fact I will make some soup at lunchtime next Monday to eat with a fresh roll when we get in.

In Sainsburys this week I bought a pack of Sainsburys own Little Ones eco baby wipes  – I noticed the pack seemed smaller so once back at home I checked it against the one I have almost finished and I was right.  Instead of 72 wipes there are now only 64 and the packet is smaller in length too.  Another product that has become a victim of shrinkation. On the good side the Sainsbury’s own Pizza we bought for tea is now on a cardboard tray rather than a polystyrene one – so thumbs up to Sainsburys.

Tomorrow I thought I might make soup – I have some leeks and potatoes to use up in a Leek and Potato soup and I  bought a reduced pack of tomatoes and some Romano red peppers to try out a new recipe for Tomato soup and I might make some Parmesan crisps to go with it.

So bit by bit I am carving out a new routine and setting up some better systems as well as clearing out old unwanted items.  I have generated quite a shredding pile now and this will have to be another task that I do a few at a time so I don’t overheat the shredder.

Back soon x

 

rEAdy, stEAdy…dash then crash

Today has been one of those days when you feel you are on overload and I spent the day dashing around trying to fulfil obligations.

The day began quite well – I woke early at 6am – it felt a little too early, I could have slept more but decided, as it is cooler at the beginning of the day, I would get up and just have a bit of a potter around the house putting oddments away.  I had little piles here and there throughout the house and an ironing pile that must be reaching a metre high – but although it is annoying me today was definitely not a day for ironing.

Most of my birthday flowers are still hanging on despite this heat – I have changed the water several times and removed any dead ones.  I love having so many about the house.  My daughter had also surprised me and put a tiny vase with a sprig of flowering lemon balm and thyme by my bedside yesterday.

Once the house looked a bit straighter I had a few errands to do in town.   I would not normally have chosen to go to town on a Friday, a very hot Friday too – the roads here are busy and congested – but I had to get cards, flowers and fairy wings (don’t ask!).

I also had to do a favour for my friend and neighbour who has just come out of hospital after a hip operation and after lunch I had planned a visit to see her.

Once in town I headed for Claire’s Accessories to look for fairy wings for my granddaughter’s birthday next week – they had an offer on of buy two items and get one free.  Even so they are not very cheap for what they are but will be just what is required for Little L’s 4th birthday next week when we go on our Fairy and Pixie adventure (can’t wait!)

I popped into Clinton’s and the Card Factory to look for cards.  I needed quite a few for different occasions – a 70th birthday, a moving house, a wedding card as my new neighbours are getting married, and a wedding anniversary, (actually I should have bought two of these – one for my own anniversary next week – but I forgot my own!).

Passing Waterstones I had a quick look at their cards and came out with a book (I know I shouldn’t have but after the week I’ve had I really felt a treat was a good idea to cheer me up).  Then it was across to Sainsbury’s – a quick check for fairy wings in case they had some cheaper ones (but nothing doing), picked up a bunch of flowers and the paracetamol for my neighbour, a couple of loaves of bread and a number 4 sparkler for Little L’s cake.

On my journey home the heat and heavy traffic was almost impossible to deal with and I am so thankful for the air conditioning in my new car.  I had to take a bit of a detour and stop by a friend’s house to deliver a birthday card for her partner – I was actually thankful they were not at home and I was able to put it through the letterbox and get back home sooner.

It was 2.30 pm when I eventually arrived home to find the telephone ringing – it was the heating engineer asking if we had decided on a date for them to come to change a part in our boiler (we hadn’t – but finally agreed on 17th as we have to work around having my mum and granddaughter and go to Scotland in August).

So it was a very quick lunch and then straight round to my neighbours – not forgetting to grab the bunch of flowers and paracetamol to take with me.  At least I always get a welcoming cup of tea there – this time made for me by her hubby who is acting nurse at the moment whilst she and her new hip are recovering.

After a bit of a chat I came home wrote all the cards, delivered the wedding card for my immediate neighbour and then at last sat down for 5 minutes and fell asleep for over an hour hoping that everyone had been given the right card for the right occasion!