dEAr diary ~ shock, horror and simple pleasures

Duck pond

It is always a shock to realise just how many days have elapsed since my last post.  I thought it was only one or two but it was actually October 25th when I last made an entry and I am not sure I can account for all that time, in fact I am wondering myself just what have I been doing!!

In the main our time was taken up with my granddaughter who was here for a visit in her very first school holidays.  We noticed a few changes in her since her last visit in the summer and especially now she has started school; one of them being that she has quickly learned to drop her ‘t’s and we now pronounce butter in great Yorkshire style as bu’er.  Many readers not familiar with the Yorkshire dialect will not be able to pronounce butter without the t’s but I can assure you that for Yorkshire people it is quite possible though maybe not desirable.

The other notable thing was when we were playing at shops (a Pizza takeaway!) she asked me for 15$ rather than £15 and she sold cookies not biscuits…and so it goes on, where will this American influence end – it must be down to all the American TV programmes and toys that speak with an American accent.Duck pondAll that aside we had some lovely days out at the local parks, complete with picnics at her request, and another trip to the local library.Winter Picnic

We had fun for hours on the swings, feeding the ducks and shouting to grandad down the speaking tubes.  We crunched through the leaves, gathered a few too,  played football and hide and seek and then got warmed up again with a flask of hot chocolate. Duck food

Feeding the ducks

She was with us for Halloween and my friend and neighbour had asked that I took her round as she had bought some sweets in specially.  So we carved pumpkins and made buns to decorate… Horror cupcakes

…they passed the taste test…Testing the buns… she had a sweet little witches costume and hat in her suitcase to put on and with a little face paint – the best scary face granny could manage – we were all ready and when it grew dark we set off with our magic pumpkin all lit up on the Halloween trail.  Granny was so excited!!First stop, my neighbour’s house where we exchanged sweets for one of the grewsome chocolate buns which my friend was delighted with.  I noticed a few other houses displaying pumpkins so we knocked on one or two doors not knowing what to expect.  It is many years since I took part in anything Halloween – back when my two daughters were little the trick or treating aspect was just taking off and rather than a pumpkin we had to carve a turnip complete with a bit of real blood (when the knife slipped) and some old black skirts to dress up in – the shops had not caught on to making money out of it then.

Experiencing the event first hand completely changed my views on Halloween – rather than the dark and sinister event the church might fear I found it to be a lovely time and the children seemed to take it all very light-heartedly.  It occurred to me that we have no other occasion that we celebrate where you can go round to a neighbour’s house that you may not even know,  knock on their door and they welcome you and give you sweets.    So many people had taken the time to decorate and carve pumpkins even a number who didn’t have children.  One person had really gone to town with smoke and eery music outside which was quite scary but lots of fun – like going on the Ghost Train – but most had a simple lit pumpkin – none of the plastic rubbish sold in the shops in evidence.

I got to chat with neighbours I had never met before and greet other people dressed up and wandering the streets as we were.  It was a truly happy occasion and everyone was so generous.  It reminded me of Carol singing days when our church members would go round the village at Christmas and the villagers would welcome you with mince pies and a hot drink – sadly this event is no longer – they have Carols in the park instead.

Of course Little L was absolutely delighted with her bag of treats and once back home we put our lit pumpkins out on the doorstep and waited for Halloweeners to call on us.  Soon the doorbell was ringing and Little L on ‘witch alert’ ran to open the door and provide the same hospitality we had received.

Now the new baby is imminent and we are packing again to go and rescue Little L at the appropriate time to look after her for a few days.  In between all this I have been doing a bit more sorting out – mainly paperwork and today I will be getting rid of a few more piles – a large box of papers to go back for shredding to my old works, a charity bag and a mound of card fronts for the ladies at the Welcome Centre who turn them into new cards to resell.

I rather think that until baby makes an appearance my Christmas plans ae on hold.  Should baby still be reluctant to arrive before Friday I might get to post my October review and my Intentions for November (better late than never) that applies to baby too!

Welcome new followers and apologies for the lack of comments – I have a bit of catching up to do.

Back soon x

PS.  If you wish to leave a comment go to the top of this page and underneath  the title and click on leave a comment.

 

 

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dEAr diary ~ shopping and ‘Shalloween’

Saturday’s plans changed.  The weather changed – it was windy but a warm wind as if someone had a hair dryer on you.  It rained on and off too.  DH was at a loss as his jobs at the moment are outdoor based.  So I suggested we went to collect the click and collect from Wilko’s in town and then do a few ‘in town’ things finishing up at the local Wyevale garden centre as they had sent me a £5 off voucher (without a minimum spend).

Wyevale’s prices are dear but something free for £5 (if you can find anything for that value) is not to be turned down.

The click and collect (not very exciting – just a car bulb set to keep in the car for DH) was collected then we went round to the library to have a browse.  I only came away with two books – Homemade Christmas and The English Seaside for a bit of nostalgia.Then onto Boots for some Aveeno body moisturising cream – I only buy it when on offer as it is quite expensive but is really good for my skin – having no Thyroid gives you very dry skin.  Of course the larger 500ml was out of stock. Annoying as it is out of stock on the internet too.   I will just have to keep checking.Good as Gold NotebookRound to WH Smiths – DH persuaded me to buy the notebook I wanted as he pointed out it is something I use all the time.  As it happens I had a Love to Shop voucher for £10 given to me at Christmas from my old work place.  So  I bought it and this is now ready for January.

Last stop in town was Marks and Spencers.  For some reason not many supermarkets do Maris Piper potatoes  they seem to favour the Maris Peer (quite different taste) – so I get my spuds from M&S when I can.  The standby Vegetable Crispbakes I get from time to time to keep in the freezer have not made an appearance for ages – probably discontinued – I wish shops would put a shelf note on when products disappear.

We had parked in Sainsbury’s in town – 2 hours free for a £5 spend.  This works out better than handing over £2 for nothing (other than the use of the car park of course!) to the cheapest of the town centre parks.    I might as well have something for the money – we got two organic wholemeal loaves reduced to 40p and topped up with a few tomatoes, a leek and 2 pints of milk to last us to Monday and a box of my organic teabags.

I had a free drink voucher at Wyevale too so when we arrived we indulged in a hot drink each and shared a huge scone for £4.  I think DH is finding all the scrimping and saving a bit depressing as it reminds him of our earlier ‘just had the children’ days when money was tight back then but I see it as a challenge and a way to conserve our emergency private pension fund to use for other things like holidays.  I am also interested to see what it is actually like living on one state pension and can it be done.

I am looking for a planter to put beside our front door for when DH re-stains it and then something to put in it.  (Not sure if the state pension will run to such a non-essential item) but anyway I was not impressed with the range of plants on offer at Wyevale they are expensive and I am not one to make a snap decision about the pot (also expensive) so we came away to think about colour and shape. 

The £5 coupon finishes today so I can’t dither too much, but as always I need to shop around a bit to be certain of what I want.  So a trip to Totties (our local nursery) today it is –  I have a £100 voucher to spend at Totties  –  a leaving gift from work – so I will go and look at their range of pots and plants first and then make my decision.  There is another Wyevale close to this so I can then go and spend my £5 on plants if need be – or should I say a plant!

I must say after yesterday’s shopping trip I was left feeling very frustrated at the way all the shops are pushing this Halloween thing.  I have no objection particularly to Halloween in moderation but every shop we went into had Halloween stuff piled high – even some of the usual items have just been given a ‘Halloween’ makeover – a bit of orange and a black spider web and they can charge more and sell more – a Halloween notebook and pencil set – I ask you what has that to do with anything – it all seems a bit superficial, as Christmas is becoming, as if it is the consuming that is the all important thing rather than the event and there is no stopping it once it starts it all just gains momentum.

And while I am on the subject why are we trying to reduce plastics in one area, like drinking straws and carrier bags which actually had a purpose, and then we are allowing cheap plastic imports of absolute rubbish into the country, and heaps of it.  Most of the cheap plastic items sold for Halloween will end up in landfill eventually (after all our teenage son or daughter will not be taking their plastic pumpkin to Uni with them LOL!).

I do think it is bad of companies to target children with all their marketing strategies when it is also compromising their futures at a time when we are trying to work towards a more sustainable future for them.

At least a pumpkin is a natural item – it can be carved for lanterns, used as decoration and eaten – it will eventually rot down and compost and can be returned to the garden – end of.  And isn’t the fun of Halloween making the decorations and dressing up imaginatively.

My suggestion would be to boycott the plastic ‘Shalloween’ and only buy paper or natural decorations.

Rant over!

What are your thoughts on plastic Halloween?