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Monday, 24 January 2011

Simple woman's Daybook: grey January

MONDAY, January 24, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook: 24th January

Outside My Window ... It's been damp cold today and grey. Please may we have some sunshine.
I am thinking ... that is was pleasing that M & C who live up the road felt they could ask us for help about their leaking pipe. Even better that Ian had the special tape to repair a slight leak. Good that people feel able to ask for our help.

From the learning rooms ... First batch of OU 221 Discovering mathematics has arrived for Ian.

From the kitchen ... not much happening, still think we should plan our menus more than a day ahead.

 I am wearing ...M & S black trousers, black and cream striped Boden top and Uniqlo charcoal grey cardigan

I am creating ... cushion cover, nearly finished, so pleased with evenness of work; have just to thread yarn through final 6 stitches of beanie hat and sew it up. All ready for ML meet.

I am going ... to try to attend weekday services for the Week of prayer for Christian unity. Twelve noon is a reasonable time, 9.15 seems rather early.

I am reading ...  We need to talk about Kevin. Umm, haven't looked at it again but have till near end of February so not panicking yet.

One of my favourite things ... trying a new recipe and it coming out well, indeed so well that one wants to repeat it. I made two loaves from a recipe for Sleepless White that was in Telegraph magazine over a week ago, just 1kg of flour, 20 grams of salt, 2.5 grams of dry yeast and 560 ml of water. Main thing was that the bread was left to prove for over 20 hours in our chilly utility room. Worst part was kneading for 10 -15 minutes what was initially very heavy dough to handle. However, it was delicious so worth while, another benefit was that Martha didn't have a reaction to it so really pleased about that.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ...  Adam will be popping in to see us tomorrow, haven't seen him since Christmas so will be good to have a catch up, another Pulmonary Rehab session, home group on Thursday and a Strollers walk on Saturday.

Find instructions and links to other daybooks at The Simple Woman

Pictures I Am Sharing of the bread...

Well, it was a first attempt! I'd made two loaves on Friday evening but they were usual mixed white and wholemeal, again I'd left them to prove longer so they were light as well. Am attempting to do bread making whilst Ian is at choir practice on a Friday night.

Guess that's all from the blog of a nobody as Carrie Pooter may have written.

Thursday, 20 January 2011


ThursDAY, JANUARY 20, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook: 20th January 2010

Outside My Window .. Cold, grey today. Fascinating scenes as the bird feeder has been moved a few feet to the left in the garden, it didn't take long for the birds, and especially the horrid pigeons, to discover where their food was.

I am thinking ... that I need to contact friends and start socialising, then the weather turns cold again.

From the learning rooms ... Ian has the name of his new tutor, but no details of tutorial dates. 

I am thankful ...  I went to knitting group today at Mrs Moon, largest group I've ever seen. Started the beanie on plastic needles, size 10 and realised that I prefer wooden needles. Bought myself a pair, felt justified as Martha asked me if I had spare size 10s so she can have the plastic ones. Managed to knit 18 rows of hat, since being at home have done two more so ready to start decreasing.

From the kitchen ... jars of marmalade made, Ian thinks it is over 50.

Store cupboard.

Last batch, made this afternoon.

I am wearing ... navy cord skirt, Boden blouse, tank top and matching cardigan, Laura Ashley scarf.
I am creating ... A mustard coloured wool beanie in Rowan big wool to wear to the ML meet next month; still working on cushion cover have knitted 51 out of 77cms.

I am reading ...  We need to talk about Kevin. Reading group choice, not read enough yet to form an opinion.

I am hoping ...  to attend some of the CTIW Week of prayer for Christian Unity next week. Some of the services start at 9.15 am. That will mean arising rather early, especially when I tell you we slept till 8.45 yesterday morning.

I am hearing ...  very little, apart from hum of laptop. 

Around the house ... we are managing to keep the house tidy so no frantic runarounds before our Treasure arrives.

One of my favourite things ... beautiful sunsets.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... well, as it is Thursday not much of week left but have nothing planned. Sunday is church, then Monday is back to Pulmonary rehab., Tuesday to Local studies and digitalization, Wednesday Pulmonary rehab. again. 

A picture thought I am sharing ... 

This is the beautiful wall hanging made by my penfriend's mother. It is rug hooking and the shading and detail is incredible, makes one want to eat these vegetables. So delighted with the gift and the kindness behind it.

Couldn't resist adding another view of the rug hooking, at an angle as it is propped up on shelf at present.

I must mention the  blog of The Simple Woman's daybook  and offer a link back to the main page of her at  blog. 

Off to have supper now. Byeeeee

Saturday, 15 January 2011


Just to tell you all about a good day.

St. Ian, pictured here in his choir robes is in our church choir and today the choir, and some of the congregation boarded a London Transport double decker omnibus and sailed down M3, M25 and A3 to Guildford Cathedral. Little diversion when driver was lost :(

Although we were there by 2pm the service was not until 5pm so I sat in the Refectory, enjoyed a pot of Earl Grey with lemon and had intended to read the papers. However was joined by other choir widows so knitted and chatted. Surprised how quickly the time went.

Sat in front row so could see Ian when I was standing up, thought the singing was beautiful although I was bit puzzled that the Lord's prayer was missed out completely, surprising because the service card said it was from BCP. Well, we didn't confess that we'd erred and strayed like lost sheep, I'm sure other prayers were omitted too.

We were back home just before 7, both tired, nothing unusual there.

Picture of the choir after the service.

On another happy note, the wall hanging has arrived safely from USA and it is so beautiful. Will be photographing it so you can see what a clever lady penfriend's Mum was.

Time to look at today's paper and maybe an early night.


Thursday, 13 January 2011


On January 6th I had a lovely email from my American penfriend telling me she'd sent me a wall hanging made by her mother through FedEx.

Her mother was a great needlewoman, I remember she used to give rug hooking classes, knitted as well as being a lovely person who made me so welcome whenever I visited them. Since her death, and then the death of her eldest daughter who was her carer, the family have been clearing their family home and I am so delighted to be having an example of her work.

However, the shine has been taken off by correspondence received from Parcelforce telling me I have to pay customs charges raised by the Border Agency on behalf of HMRC. Didn't know that gifts were subject to VAT and a clearance fee charged by Parcelforce. Not sure how this could be avoided and who decided the value of the gift.

I tried to ring the Border Agency but it is obvious that they have no intention of answering calls, always one was cut off after being told that all their agents were busy. A look at the website made it clear that one has no choice about paying.

How does one go about sending and receiving gifts like this?  If I wanted to knit and send gifts to their grand children would they be taxed on these? Daughter reminded me that she was sent a clothes gift from a Texan friend and she had to pay £20,  less than me but VAT was lower then. As item had been despatched couldn't warn penfriend about filling in customs form.

Maybe it's just me but I feel so fed up about this, some one does something lovely out of the kindness of their heart and the recipient in another country is clobbered by tax and handling charges when the sender has paid postage already.

Sorry, wanted to whinge. Will post pictures of first marmalade batch in next blog.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

January ninth

Just a brief item on how we marked this day of anniversaries.

Started off at church, lots of panic for Ian who is learning to organise the  Eucharistic ministers as some didn't turn up or notify their absence. Well, there is a lot of illness about. All was well though. Thought about my Mum when her name read out in Years Mind. Also, daughter's baptism 28 years ago, especially as today had a baptism theme of course.

Would have been my Dad's 98th birthday, 32 years ago today Ian met my parents for the first time; 13 years ago we moved into this house on a very warm day, apart from Mum's death and Martha's baptism  on her grandfather's 70th birthday.

Our readings went well although Aristocratic Lady with Hearing Problems said that Ian has too quiet a voice and that it would help if I projected my voice more too.

After church we drove to Richmond and had lunch at Caffe Mamma in Kew Road, so friendly there. Again it was obvious many are sick or have been as the restaurant has had many cancellations. Including ours but they were understanding.

Much debate after meal as to a destination but settled for Kew Gardens so parked nearer. Inside just walked to the Palm House and went into hot steamy jungle, learnt about useful plants, climbed the windy staircase (after a whoosh of ventolin) and admired the Victorian building and of course the bamboos. Ian likes bamboo thus we have a lovely black bamboo in back garden.

 Ian taking the picture of me that is at the end of this sequence.

View from the top of the Palm House

This is the right way round, looking along the 'roof' of the Palm House.

Last picture taken by Ian with his Blackberry, shows me wearing my pink beret knitted in Rowan alpaca and cotton. Matches jumper, in fact was made with left over yarn.

Back home, two mugs of tea each, Sunday papers then update here. Now time to eat and The Archers.


Friday, 7 January 2011


FriDAY, JANUARY 07, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook:  7th January 2011

Where do I start after so long? Will use this, yes I know it is the wrong day but it's the scaffolding on which to hang thoughts of the season.
Outside My Window ...Rain. Heavy, steady rain. So heavy that neither Ian nor I fancied walking in it to collect the newspaper so we hopped into little car and I drove, Ian went to shop whereby I went down the High Street, round the roundabout and back up and Ian jumped in. Felt bad at not being green, not having the much needed exercise to open lungs but neither of us feel well yet.

I am thinking ...about the respiratory rehabilitation course I'm taking and how I felt better after the exercises. Only challenge of the 12 was the cycling, after 3 minutes legs felt like dead weights. Really want to succeed and find a suitable class afterwards to ensure I'm as fit as possible, even if my lungs will never get any better I don't want them to be worse.

From the learning rooms ...Ian is officially now taking OU M221. He will learn who is his new tutor and about tutorial details in about 10 days. He is excited, earnest and keen. Second hand maths books have been arriving from the South American River.

I am thankful ... for the out of hours doctor service, Harmony, that sent a doctor on Bank Holiday Monday. Both Ian and I freaked out when we were told to call an ambulance if doctor not with us within 2 hours. Was given steroids, antibiotics and codeine to counteract chest and throat infection and the pain in my ribs. It hurt just to breathe, I couldn't get up, didn't want to eat either. Don't seem to have lost weight though, not enough exercise.

From the kitchen ...Ian has gone to prepare lunch, take more medication, cough linctus or paras.

I am wearing ...Long black Next skirt, stripy Thomas Pink shirt with my father's onyx cufflinks and pale pink cashmere Uniqlo jumper.

I am creating ... a cushion cover.

View of cushion cover. Pattern is from Martha's book, Purls of Wisdom but I'm not doing cable part of pattern, just, as they suggest the simpler moss stitch. (knit 2, purl 2)

Another view. When cover is knitted I will proudly sew in one of my labels that Martha gave me for Christmas.  Label says "Made by Madeleine" and "Swann enterprises" which is what we have said we would call a business if we started one. Am so delighted with these labels have sewn them on to everything I've completed since August. It was lovely to put them on the hat and scarf I made Martha for Christmas, especially as she was pleased with them.

Pink and very dark grey to match her coat, made in Rowan Big Wool. Scarf just garter stitch, two rows in each colour.

I am going ... well have been to the doctor about a recurring problem. Feel very encouraged at his diagnosis, support and understanding. I do feel that physical health is just so tied out with our general well being, that stress, worry, fear causes our physical ailments. On a serious note, it is good to know that I'm not suffering allergic reactions to food. Will look forward to strawberries in the summer now! 

I am reading ...Diary of a nobody. Well, I should be, the book group meets on Monday next.

I am hoping ... to have energy back. there is so much I wish to do and see. Am beginning to get cabin fever.

Around the house ...looks lovely and tidy, all Christmas tree and decorations removed, Ian vacuumed everywhere today and we are endeavouring to be tidier.  All ironing completed yesterday at last. This is why the blog wasn't started, ironing took priority.

One of my favourite things ... completing the crossword. That's why we like to have newspaper first thing, but the newsagent has gone out of business, health and recession so  prepaid papers not delivered and we are learning to collect them ourselves. Hasn't helped we've both felt so unwell, thus taking time to get going in the mornings.

A few plans for the rest of the week ...Sunday will be an emotional day, for it would have been my father's 98th birthday; it is the 16th anniversary of my mother's death; the 28th anniversary of Martha's baptism and 13th anniversary of moving into this house. By sheer chance Ian and I are reading the lessons at church on Sunday. Feel this was meant. Haven't been to church since Christmas Day and I have missed it so much.
Monday will be busy; reading group lunch; pulmonary rehab session and then Local History Society new year social in the evening. Have missed last two meetings so must go to this.

Well off to read Grossmith, Ian at choir practice, will post more of my thoughts more frequently.

I realise I haven't touched on The Archers, will do so at a later date. Promise.

Find instructions and links to other daybooks at The Simple Woman