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Monday, 30 August 2010


Well progress has been made with knitting but realised I needed to count rows and much searching was done at Pixie Towers for my Ro-tally. You will remember dear reader that it many years have elapsed since I knitted last and this household has a lot of stuff.

In the night thought about another location in which to look;  indeed in my mother's embroidery basket were not one, but two Ro-tallies. Unfortunately they do not fit size 5 & 7 needles. So it's back to a 5-bar gate on a post-it note, well on my posh post-it notes with my name on.

Have made a sponge cake to take to see son and daughter in law, along with boring things like hedge cutters, a shredder and pots of jams.

Off to jam sponge halves together,

Byeeee, Madeleine

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Knitting again.

I am so pleased with myself! Yes I know all those saying about pride and falling, and self praise is no recommendation and about boasting but I am pleased.

After what may be 20 years, I have started knitting again. Not only knitting but I am finishing the cream cardigan I started way back in the long past when we lived in another house. (All of 100 yards away around the corner).

 I am working on the decreasing of a raglan sleeve, yes the first sleeve but the front and back are done. The pattern is fisherman's rib so not actually straightforward stocking stitch so have to watch what I'm doing.

Did have to undo a few rows, but soon worked out where I was and am enthused to continue and will photograph. Amazingly, given the pattern comes from the dark ages the daughter said the cardigan would look good with her skinny jeans. A compliment to my good taste in knitting patterns me thinks.

Once I have finished I am so looking forward to knitting with all the new fun yarns and may do silly stuff, not just clothes. There are so many knitting and craft blogs that I want to be part of it all. No one has mentioned the revival of knitting and craft stuff in The Archers yet, obviously not one of VW's issues/ishoos.

Right, will leave my luvverly lap top and go downstairs, knit and watch TV. It will be last Monday's  "Who do you think you are?" I don't recognise or know the person it's about so all the better.

Bye bye, Madeleine

Monday, 23 August 2010


FOR TODAY Monday 23rd August 2010

Outside my window...grey skies, humidity and lots of noise as our neighbour's front garden wall is being rebuilt. We had hoped that theirs and ours could be done together but the builder didn't come back to us. We thnk the price has now gone up to an unacceptable level.

I am thinking...whether there will be time to make another batch of damson jam this morning.

I am thankful home as it fits so well with our lifestyle, its location is ideal.

From the kitchen...breakfast clearing to be done, diswasher emptied, jam to be made?
I am wearing...cream trousers (lots of pockets for puffers, hankies and mobile) and blue patterned blouse. Will be changing later.

I am creating...jam.

I am the funeral/ celebration of life for Gemma aged 27 who has died from pancreatic cancer. She was primary school friend of Martha and fellow chorister at church in teens. The church yesterday was decked with flowers and greenery everywhere and more will be added today. Gemma had planned her own funeral, down to every detail.

I am reading...Bill Bryson still.

I am is not too upsetting. There have been many church funerals this year but this is the saddest, for grandmother, parents and sibling as well as the whole of our local community.

I am hearing...banging and shouting from builders.

Around the house...Ian has said he is off the cut a piece of wood. Why?

One of my favourite things...watching birds at our bird feeders. Do wonder how they manage to empty the feeders so quickly.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Local studies digitalisation project tomorrow; visiting ancient relative; more jam making; continue to organise family history papers

Here is picture for thought I am sharing.. Eastbourne a typical south coast resort on a windy day in August. However the town is redeemed by the fantastic Camilla's bookshop. Do Google it, unbelievable collection of books..

Mentioning   blog and offering a link back to the main page of  blog. that started this great template for our thoughts.

Off to do  stuff now.

Byeeeee, Madeleine.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

"The Simple Woman's Daybook"

Hi there my merry band of readers,

Monday's start of the blog :) Tis time for jam making, yesterday we made greengage and damson jam. the damsons came from the front of the vicarage. New Vicar's wife knew she didn't have time to use them before going to visit family so we have helped her pick them and are turning them into jam, some of which will be sold for good causes.

FOR TODAY, Wednesday 18th August 2010
Outside my window...sunny, clouds, cool wind; washing on line, and nearly dry. (Note, washing now dry, indoors to be sorted into ironing and airing - Ed.) Birds drinking and playing in the dish that passes for a bird table and other birds dropping the food from feeders onto the ground. We seem to be filling feeders daily and have decided the birds should eat what they dropped before we put more out.

I am thinking...why does this take me so long? It is hard work trying to be interesting and amusing!

I am thankful for...a successsful lunch yesterday. We had recorded a TV programme, friends P & R said they wanted to see it so we invited them for lunch and TV viewing. As R has dietary problems cooked, for the first time, a risotto from written instructions given by daughter. Only difficulty was when to add the large glass of wine so added it after the first pint of hot stock and there was no indication of quantity of parmesan so we guessed. Vegetables were broad beans, fresh peas, red pepper, French beans, carrots so it was colourful and served with a green salad, some of which was home grown and with home grown tomatoes.
For sweet made an Eton mess, very simple form of. Just strawberries cut up, raspberries, merangue nests from M & S so no additives, double cream and Greek yogurt. Very successful.
I suspect all four of us had difficulty staying awake whilst watching the TV programme.

From the learning rooms...Ian has finished all the work for this course that ends in October and has started preparing for next February's course. A bit over the top methinks.

From the above, jam making. Lots of damsons to be made into jam. Only question is:- Do we stone first or hope the stones will float to the top. Ian not happy with latter method so we will sit and cut up fruit to extract stones and weigh 3lbs at a time, cook them briefly and add sugar.

I am wearing...Jeans and a Gap tunic top.

I am with the Walking Group on Friday, think the exercise will be good.

I am reading...Secret life of bees. Well finished it Monday afternoon afternoon and really enjoyed it. There will be discussions at Reading Group next month.

I am hoping...
Around the house...irong to be done, soon will need to prepare lunch. House fairly tidy downstairs after Tuesday visitors. There are benefits about asking people around. Will have to have another go, I thought lunchtime worked better than evening.

One of my favourite things...seeing a scam fail. Yesterday Martha and friend Emma, both bridesmaids went to collect their dresses from shop in town across river from here. Dresses were tried on, all satisfactory, girls wanted to take them away and told they couldn't as alterations not paid for. Firstly alterations were priced at £45 each for one hem adjustment and two straps adjustments. Suddenly the price was £45 total, but in cash and with no receipt possible. Both girls contacted bride as they understood correctly that there were no costs to be involved in the dress collection. After lots of calls, including one to the person subcontracted for alterations, the shop agreed that there was nothing to be paid. "Sorry for the misunderstanding." Should be sorry for the scam! Dresses and girls back here and they finished the Eton mess after their supper.

A few plans for the rest of the week: work in the Local studies library on Building our Borough the project where planning applications will be digitalised.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

  of empty bird feeders, this were filled up this morning. Ian has gone to local High Street and will buy urgently needed supplies.

Mention of blog and offer a link back to the main page of blog.

That's all folks, back to ironing, jam making and washing up.


Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Hi everyone who read my previous blog about the family exclusion from nephew's wedding and death of Martha's friend from primary school and choir.

Have heard no more about nephew's wedding and no one else has posted pictures in Facebook. I'll let it go, no one can force wider families to stay together and in touch.

We were visited today by our new vicar, he stayed for nearly 2 hours chatting, learning about Ian and I, we learnt about changes he wishes to make. Seem good to us, some were mooted by his predecessor and we learnt about G's funeral. It sounds as if she had planned it, poor girl, it should have been her wedding this month. Cannot take in the death of a talented 27 year old.

Been an odd week, yesterday was persuaded to call doctor's surgery as last weeks bites had become very painful and swollen, spoke with nurse on phone first and then appointment made with female doctor who prescribed antibiotics. Different ones this time, so far no adverse reactions to them. Such a good surgery, a model of kindness and understanding.

Now for good news! We have two tickets for a recording of Gardeners Question Time which is taking place at Kew Gardens on my birthday. Yippee!!!  Ian and I are now trying to think of a question we could ask, it's early September so if we were to take a plant sample in the problem would have to be at that time. OOh, so exciting. We are Friends of Kew Gardens, brilliant place to go and with our Freedom Passes we can travel there for nothing too.

One thing that is playing on my mind is that we don't do very well at entertaining, I have made one call tonight to a teacher friend of mine but left message on her answer phone as no reply. We know we must invite people around as we owe meals big time but neither of us seems to have the impetus. Maybe it's all the work involved, even todays Vicar visit entailed lots of cleaning, tidying up and picking up on detail. It would have been the day before our Treasure's fortnightly visit. I don't know whether I don't  want to invite people because I can't be bothered, (I would rather play on my computer or read my current book), whether I'm lazy and all the work and labour involving meal planning, cooking, getting out of plates, cutlery, choosing right wines etc. p.94 contd. is just not our thing. But, and it is a big but, even at the beginning of a sentence I know we should and I am scared too. Scared it will go wrong.

At least I have the best reason in the world for not inviting anyone here on my birthday! I'll be at Kew.

On that note I will shut down this addictive machine, go downstairs and make Ian a coffee and have last of today's antibiotic.

No pictures, but thanks for reading this.


Monday, 9 August 2010


Yesterday was a disturbing day, one in three parts.

The morning was much as other mornings, to church, where I read the intercessions. I had written them with summer and holidays in mind, mentioned redundant churches, church in Mecanhelas in Mozambique which our NSM visits and the congregation supports. Home  after a 80th birthday celebration for a member of congregation to prepare lunch.

Darling daughter didn't want steak we had bought in Farmers Market day before, so we finished Farmers Market quiche instead but she was warned steak will be eaten today. Her fads change daily and if she says she will eat with us I feel, within reason she should share our meal choice. Obviously I would not serve her food she won't eat, like fish as that is a constant.

In afternoon Ian & I pottered around and then decided we should go out so walked in our local park which is quite wild. The council have planted huge swatches of wild flowers which look so colourful and can be viewed from the arterial road as well. Enjoyed walk but came back very tired, humidity, long walk and haul over footbridge shattered me.

Whole tenor of day changed when I saw pictures of nephew/godson's wedding on Facebook. Although he and bride have been engaged for ever (he put on FB that they were engaged to keep her quiet) we knew nothing about the wedding. Many would say why should we? I would have liked to seen the couple married, would have been more than happy to miss the reception and what looked like a drunken dance/disco after.

What makes it more difficult is that my sister and her husband turned down invitation to our son's wedding. They gave no explanation to Adam who was quite upset that his Godparents were not attending especially as his was a church wedding. Later we learnt my sister and husband had accepted an earlier invitation to another wedding, son of a friend of whom we had never heard before. If they were such good friends surely they would understand attendance at a nephew's wedding was closer and family? I suspect sister's husband wants them to have little to do with her family, especially as they seem to avoid other family gatherings.

Sister and I are very different, have never been very close but such exclusion of close family means that the rift will be even bigger. From the photos it didn't look like a small gathering so it couldn't have been a numbers issue. As her husband is very anti computers, and as far as I know they don't have one, there will be little point of contact.I will continue to send birthday and Christmas cards, I had stopped gifts in favour of a charity donation.

Late in evening Martha rang us to ask if we had seen Facebook, I assumed she was talking about her cousin's wedding but it was sadder than that. Her friend, aged 27, from primary school and church choir days had died from pancreatic cancer. We knew G. was dying, but the confirmation was upsetting that so one so young had suffered so much. Our thoughts are with her parents, they are not together so that is difficult now and her younger brother. G. used to spend time at our house, Martha stayed with her so we could go off on church walking weekends, the girls were in the choir in their early teens although they drifted apart later.

All these thoughts went through my head and I slept badly, until I put Radio 2 on sometime after 5 and that sent me to sleep till about 7.30.

Sorry to my readers that this is a downbeat blog, must close as have chores to do, have no picture to add, just my thanks for reading this.

Madeleine / PixieMum

Monday, 2 August 2010

August thoughts

    FOR TODAY Monday Second August Twenty Ten

This blog has been written over time today whilst doing other chores, like laundry, breadmaking and house tidying.

Outside my window...sunshine, have not been out so not sure of temperature. However, the garden is in drought conditions and we desperately need rain. Have had very little, so we have been saving every drop both in the kitchen and indeed water from the shower too.

I am thinking...can one use "colour catchers" many times if no colour has seeped out of a wash? Seems unnecessary to throw away an unmarked sheet. Just thought of it as I pull light coloured wash from the machine. Told you on Facebook I am trying to be a domestic goddess, trying in the laundry as well as bakery department.

From the learning rooms...Ian as very excited as he submitted his OU CMA (computer marked assignment) in plenty of time. He has been working very hard on this, partly as he wishes to obtain a good mark (the last two TMAs were 98%) and also he enjoys the study and is going to take a second level course next year. The work does mean that sometimes other activities go by the board but these are never critical items. I am trying to pick up the domestic stuff, so made bread and blackcurrant jam last Friday.

From the kitchen...breakfast washing up to be done; salmon defrosting; blackcurrant jam to be put away in perserves cupboard. Washing up done, drying up done both from breakfast and lunch.

I am wearing...denim blue Boden linen skirt and patterned Monsoon summery top. Not pleased with the wear of the Boden skirt, I think M & S are better for quality. One of the attractions of this skirt were the 2 pockets on the front so I could keep my Ventolin inhaler with me at all times but I think I will forgo this another time.

I am thinking about play upon words and puns. Today's paper reports the English cricket success - the strap line is "No shelter from Anderson". One would need to be a certain age, understand who the original Anderson was (Sir John Anderson - Home Secretary in late 1930s who organised the Anderson shelters). Our family are great on puns and play on words and try to catch each other out.

I am bring in the dried washing whilst I wait for second loaf to rise. The water was just a little cool so the flour was cool so the bread is taking longer to rise. I tell myself that the slower bread is made the better it will be. Hope that is a true fact.

I am reading...Bill Bryson's At home.

I am popping in and out of The Archers message board, especially the Bull but haven't posted there today.

I am 4 and PM from the kitchen. Have been able to listen to radio whilst in kitchen and have enjoyed that, I miss so many good programmes.

Around the house...the bread is proving, have put it in a sunny spot by the lounge French windows. Have made usual half and half recipe, whereby 12oz white and 12oz wholemeal flour is mixed together. Comes from Taste of Health book published by BBC yonks ago.

A few plans for the rest of the week: usual volunteer at Local studies, Thursday, we may go to Eastbourne as Ian has never been there, we need to have full value from our Senior Railcards and I would like to see the sea this year. A walk along the prom., a lunch, maybe an ice cream and a train ride sounds good.

Here are pictures of the oforementioned jam.  I have not yet eaten any of this batch of jam so don't know whether my first attempt is any good.

Notice some of our Emma Bridgewater mugs.

As usual I must mention Simple Woman's Daybook  blog and offer a link back to the main page of her blog.

Have used this blog to give mine a structure although today it has been one of rambling and obscure thoughts and actions.  

Will finish now, bread to check, daughter will be home soon, I do wonder whether she knows about this. Am certain husband doesn't but I it is a kind of public diary but wish I could be more amusing.

Madeleine / PixieMum