Friday, 31 January 2020

Oh dear...

this arrived in yesterday’s post.

One hundred pounds and Scottish to boot!

The work really starts now.  I worry that on arrival in the coming week that the space age-looking contraption will be destined for the back of the cupboard.
My job now is to simplify the whole process and talk them in pictures how to operate the flaming thing.
Some might wonder how the lass gets herself into these
predicaments?  I often ask myself the same question?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

A flavour of...

my world...
I am in total, like absobloominlutely in awe of
Audrey, my adopted mum.  No matter what ghastlies her creaking bod throws at her she bounces back.  At ninety five her body is on the home straight heading for the big chequered flag in the sky.  Err... Audrey has other ideas!  Some days I phone and she sounds weak mentioning in passing her 26th trip to the loo!  Others she is chipper and full of the preparations she is putting in place for when she decides the time is right.  We have even agreed a sign she will send me when that time comes and to contact me from the great beyond;
no not a white feather, or even a rainbow, but a fried egg sandwich!
All her friends either won’t or can’t talk about death, she finds our free and frank discussions a little light relief.  I say I hope one day to get the call that she has died in her sleep to which she replies that she is keen to be awake to experience it.  My idea wouldn’t at all be her required choice of departure. I counter with, what if the mode of transport is the lavatory and the fuel a s**t slick!  That gave her pause for thought and chuckles (she’s that sort of woman!?!)  The fried egg sandwich will be her letting me know she is okay and things are tickerty-boo on the other side. 
Sounds like a plan, don’t you agree?

Monday, 27 January 2020

Grain sacks...

there is a shop that I absolutely love in Ludlow.  The husband calls it the dangerous shop, for obvious reasons!
A few months ago I bought this lovely rough French grain sack which we have covering a bolster on our bed.  It cost £18.  Yesterday I nipped in to get another one for its twin languishing in the garden room totally to its shame without a stitch to cover itself. To my amazement the price has shot up to £30 added to which the sack was completely plain.  Disgruntled I marched down the hill not dissimilar to the ‘Grand’ old Duke of York!?!
As the Sunday afternoon sloth crept ever-so slowly across my body, a bolt of lightning struck me fair between the eyes...
What about those towels you bought  in Hastings old town, fresh off a cruise ship of the ilk of the Titanic?  They are thick, not slubby admittedly but interesting all the same. I peeled myself out of the horizontal position I am to be found in most Sunday afternoons and marched smartly (the Duke would be proud!?!) up to the garden room.  To give you some idea of the determination that fired out of t’old lass I even turned the central heating on.  If that wasn’t a clear indication of intent I don’t know what is?
Rummaging through the tower of boxes I eventually cornered my quarry.  Kicking and screaming they were loathe to leave their cosy winter hibernation.  The bolster was laid on the sofa, the towels offered up... Bingo!  Cracked it!  The ironing board came out, blooming unheard of on a Sunday and off we went looking for all the world like a character out of a 19th century folk song...

#Dashing away with the smoothing 
iron, she stole my heart away#

Sewing machine next; good to know the slumbering crafting person hasn’t totally given up the ghost?

Today, Monday morning will see the job finished before I set off to do my stint at the hospital.

Progress so far, more pictures to follow...

Top cushion cover  £4
Bottom cushion cover  £18
 No contest... alright the French one has a tad more panache, however a good job done and quids in!

Friday, 24 January 2020

The eyes to the...

right have it.  Oh that and the eyes to the left!  Trouble is they are both not singing from the  same song sheet they are of differing persuasions.  One always looks on the bright side... long sighted.  The other looks no further than the end of it’s nose... short sighted.
I have reached this great age without the need for glasses, as working cooperatively they take turns to step up when the need arises.  The time has come for me to admit that glasses might help me read a little easier.  
This morning I went for an eye test.  
‘Ummmmm!’ he said.
‘They do work as a team.  When you are driving, one looks where you’re going and the other will look at the dashboard when required to!’

Who knew that’s how I drive!?!

To cut a very long and convoluted story short... no I didn’t come out with a monocle, which I really, really would have preferred, but a pair of glasses with one lens for my reading eye and a sun lounger lens for my 
off-duty eye.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

I’ve ordered a...

couple of obelisks.  As you do?

Instruction to the maker... 
the wibbly/wobbly the better.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

My 50th...

the great and the good came.  Friends from all corners of the UK.  Lots of interesting folk with tales to tell.  Champagne in dustbins full of ice, beer... ditto... that was it.  Soft drinks aplenty.

My son and I did the catering, us both being chefs it seemed like a good idea.

The weather was glorious, the August evening was truly balmy (I know what you’re thinking... not that sort, although there was an evidence of crazy!?!)
A gazebo on the lawn, food on the terrace, dancing in the dining room.  A lovely lady came to sing, we danced, talked and drank the night away.  All sounds very grand, and in my world it was.

There was one VIP, I use the term loosely, who wanted to be invited.
I told the butler...
‘No way Jose!’
I wanted to be the centre of attention at my fiftieth... 
Not her!

Just wish I could tell you who it was!?!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Oh dear...

the fourth bed has arrived!

There was I quietly minding my own business walking off to work (voluntary at the hospital) when the strange thought(?)occurred, as I have a bit of time I will nip into the Blue Cross charity shop and see if they have any normal dogs beds as opposed to Princess and the pea type.

‘As luck would have it we do have one!’

Crumbs I thought what have I done?

‘Err, what size?’ I said with the quickness of the 9 dog out of track 6 at Catford.  Thinking all the while it will be too small!  

Quick as a flash...

‘Collie size!’

Oh double Crumbs thought I.

Down it came from the upstairs room and it was blooming ideal for the back of the car, deep with just the right amount of security factor that any princess requires in the back of a limo.

What was I to do?

Buy it of course!  On the way home  I called to pick it up with arms full of shopping and now a dog bed to jiggle between aching limbs.  My days as a bag woman are coming ever closer...

I feel it in my water!

Rather stylish, you have to agree and British Racing Green, what is there not to like?

Monday, 20 January 2020

‘Bung me a...

hundred nicker!’ I foolishly said. 
Not for one moment thinking he would.  All very well saying it in a letter, at the same time offering to talk him through how to use the infernal contraption.

‘Just think how much easier and tasty you food will be if you let me instruct from afar, being as my culinary skills are held in such high esteem in many circles across the land!?!’ 
Now where I went wrong was to mention it in passing when we spoke on the telephone last night, weeks after the offer was made.

‘Aah yes, a good idea.  I had completely forgotten about it.  A better idea would be for you to come up and show me how to use it!’
‘Err, my darling, I would but it is such a long way for me to come to give you a cookery demonstration!’
Ludlow to top left hand corner of the Highlands... he was obviously pushing it.
Why oh why did I think to come up with the idea in the first place as I carefully packed in their Christmas hamper stock cubes and soup mix of many pulses and lentils, pasta even?  As the husband would say I do have previous, so who else to blame I ask you?

‘I will get Alistair onto to it tomorrow, he will be only too delighted to be sending something to LL!’
The money will be winging its way as we speak.
Oh dear! another fine mess I have got myself into.  Not only that but I have to talk them through how to use the darned thing without blowing themselves into the Minch.

This is for Joanne, The lighthouse at Stoer, close to where I used to live overlooking the Minch, or Minches.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

The rules of...

the game.

It’s cross between petanque and bowls with one exception...
there ain’t no skill involved!  Oh, that and the fact it is played indoors.
The aim of the game is to ensure the opposition gets cream-crackered.  Thus easing her demands for a nano-second, until her second wind returns and off she wants to go again.  Personally I blame myself as I was the one who came up with the all weather venue.
I best explain the finer points of splat the rat.  Sitting in the armchair quietly minding my own business along comes my dreaded opponent who brooks...
absobloominlutely no argument about play... like now!
With my very best blanking technique I get nudged, woofled at, jumped on until after many minutes of trying to gain my attention, she does eventually give up.  I then craftily get up and pretend it was my idea in the first place.  The fact she is quick enough to work out that it was her idea is a mere bagatelle in my simple human brain.

This is the pitch, piste, call it what you will, the aim is to get the ball to hit the case protecting the palm which then rebounds every which way.  Trouble is... it does!  Already we have had precious treasures like the Hacks tin crashing to the floor not to mention the odd pot plant. I think the blame lays firmly at my door as I am afraid to admit I am the oik around here!  Ellie just does what dogs do, jumps to catch the ball and sometimes manages a bit of rebound off the ceiling walls and windows.
What is an old dear to do reaching the twilight of her years?
Play on! says I...

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Getting the staff trained...

 has I must confess been an uphill struggle.  I would go so far as to say it is most definitely still work in progress.

I’ve heard them say how intelligent I am, they don’t know the half of it!

Look, I’m a collie, I like routine, which being a pair of old codgers they seem to like as well, so that’s okay.  The problem is they get up at seven, well to be more precise Dad gets up, lets me out and then disappears back to bed with mugs of tea.  I am then relegated to my second bed in the Orangery.  What is it with these poncy names, don’t they know I’m just a mutt from Ireland.  And then there’s the Wrenery, personally I think it should be called the Tittery because the main visitors are tits.  Blue tits, long tailed, great and coal tits.  How do I know because while they wile away another hour in bed I get to study the visitors to the Wrenery?  I haven’t ever seen a wren in there!

When Mum comes down that’s when the day begins, I get served home made liver biscuits in bed, then my breakfast of turkey thigh and vegetables is served in my room.  Room service!  After breakfast I jump up on her lap for a cuddle, alright I know I’m a collie and should by now be out on the hill, I am after all just a mutt from Ireland.

Next indoor ball game, which I ought to say my demand to play doesn’t always go down too well.  I lay the blame squarely at her door, or to be more precise her chair.  Mum taught me how to put the ball on her lap which she now regrets as she tries to concentrate knocking out another blog on her flat thing.  What is it with these infernal machines?  Whenever I jump up I try my very hardest to knock it out of her hands, the same with mugs of tea. I require, ney demand her undivided attention, which doesn’t always work!  Mum is the jolly fun one, Dad is more serious and takes his dog owning responsibility like  the CEO he thinks he is.  Obviously we know different!?!
I know it’s sexist to say but I do still have a problem with men, due in no small part to my past life, so I do tend to favour LL.  She is the one that tells me off, but I still love her even so.

Not the best photo, but at least she hasn’t started taking selfies!

Friday, 17 January 2020

With my opera...

 glasses I sit and spy, 
007 eat your heart out!
There are six I can see that need the Lettice touch.  I pursue eBay and Gumtree for a greenhouse, a barrow and a pile of muck.  Seeds are sown, the sap is without doubt on the move.  I loiter outside the main man’s house looking for all the world like a tom touting for trade.  I’m not proud!  The garden here waits with bated breathe as I plan the pond.  Trouble is I don’t want EarthmoversRUs (i.e. the husband) to strut his stuff until I have a safe home for the many and various box/yew balls, which I plan to use as a stylish spinney on Lettice Leaf’s very own allotment.

Just now a waiting game...

Thursday, 16 January 2020

They say..

get fitter ✔️
lose weight ✔️
get yourself a dog ✔️
first two courtesy of Ellie.
eat five+ fruit and veg a day ✔️
I struggle there as it’s more like 
twenty five!
Eat less salt ✔️ & ✖️
since coming to Ludlow we have noticed that just about everything here is high salt from sausages to  pub meals even to crisps, which we only have at weekends
eat less processed meat ✖️ & ✔️
it is difficult because our butcher makes such delicious sausages and scourge of healthy dieters the world over...
pork flaming pies!
eat more oily fish ✔️✔️
having a wonderful fishmonger we eat much more fish.
eat less saturated fat ✖️✖️
I love cheese, so I do have something in common with Boris!??
Butter at weekend-ish?  Cheese and butter to my knowledge aren’t addictive... in my world they blooming are!
Move ✔️
I will do more when I get my allotment!  I am signed up for circle dancing, although I have yet to tell I have two left feet! Talk about mystical, there won’t be much mystery when I join the circle and want to go the opposite way to the other gentle souls!?!  
Stay calm ✖️
How can you after two moves and shedloads of money paid for the privilege?
Meditate ✖️
Tonight we start classes again!

Any suggestions as to why my blood pressure is climbing after staying well managed with the two tablets I reluctantly take?

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

While I wait...

‘patiently’ pruning my nails to the quick.  I decide to phone
Mick and Mick our pet greenhouse aficionados.
‘Would you have any cedar wood left over to cobble together a teeny-weeny greenhouse for me?’
I have a way with words!

The two Michaels have been greenhouse erectors since leaving school; their firm shut up shop leaving them high and dry at the ripe old age of knocking on for seventy.  They had worked along side each other all those years and still call each other friends.  Who else would you want to make you a greenhouse, I ask you?

I don’t know whether Mick was shocked at hearing from me after all these years, or surprised at my straight to the jugular question, or the fact we now live blooming miles away in Shropshire.

‘Being a straight talking woman I would fully understand if you said  on your bike LL!’ Giving him what I thought a great get out of jail free card?

After the shock of the call probably he needed to go and lie down, that or adjust his pacemaker?

His reply to my ‘cobble together’ question was that wouldn’t be possible!  No surprise there as they did work for one of the top
greenhouse companies!  When he and his wife see Mick and his wife for their regular dinner date, he would find out what Mick the driver had to say and maybe they would consider putting up a greenhouse for me.

Just send me your address and postcode and I will google earth you to see your garden...

They’ll have a blooming difficult job as my garden is so small you would struggle to see it from a drone, let along a flaming satellite!

Me outside my wonderful greenhouse in Goudhurst.  I still miss that  garden.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

I hang over...

the wall looking for all the world like a cross between Mr Chad and Humpty Dumpty.
These are the doors through which my heart’s desire lies.

Both doors have keys of which at this stage of the game I am not allowed.  I just know that once through, my life will change.  With the subterfuge of a super sleuth I lurk about looking for all the world as if I was just passing, nothing, like nothing could be further from the truth.  I befriend, get into friendly conversation with all who pass through the beguiling doors onto the hallowed turf that is beyond. When I first arrived I mistakenly assumed the door would be open as I gently tried the handle... wrong!  Tears of frustration and pores oozing pathos I turned away...  

Why me?

The pain is with me still...
raw as my nose today in the blustery breeze at the top of Clee Hill.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

The princess...

‘She is going to turn into a 
complete madam you know!’

The warning signs in the beginning just weren’t there.  Those beautiful brown appealing eyes, the beautiful lithe figure.  Her sweet and what came across as shy demeanour.  Keen to please.  To do the right thing always just bubbling below the surface. I, like so many were beguiled, drawn in, some might say bewitched?

‘She is so pretty!’
was a oft heard refrain.

Over time things ever so slowly changed, nothing you could put your finger on, just a vague unease.  The power was shifting, at first you thought nothing of it, I must be imagining it?  Her demands became more overt, you found yourself walking on quicksand, careful not to put a foot wrong.

It all came to a head when in  a blinding flash I realised how right they were...

She really is a princess... meet...

HRH Ellie Fullie
‘Her Rescued Highness’

‘Forest Rescue’ named her the
Princess and how right they were.

Friday, 10 January 2020

There’s no other...

word for it...
it’s war!
And to think I have taught him everything I know, added to which I’ve been alright not I grant you, a conventional mum, but a mother all the same.  This is how he has repaid me...

His loaf photo sent just this afternoon.
Mine is in the oven as I sit seething and waiting.

When the family came prior to Christmas I enquired as to whether they had ever tried making sourdough bread?  Their scathing reply was we have had a go and it wasn’t worth the effort!  Foolishly I gave, yes gave him some starter and a fulsome account of what to do.

This is my effort, just out of the oven tonight.  Not a patch on the boy’s I hate to admit!


What is a woman to do, I ask you?

Thursday, 9 January 2020

The sap is...

rising!  I blame it on the mild weather.  I am getting all horticulturally hyper.  I even popped a note into the door of the main allotment man to jolly him along about my name on the waiting list.  The next cunning plan is a little light bribery and corruption.  I’m not proud!  Every day as I steam up the hill past his door I slow up, it isn’t the fact I am struggling for breath you understand?  It is in order to waylay him as he opens his front door.  Until today, no luck.  Decisive action was so obviously required.  A funky fetching postcard was chosen, my enquiry/requirements were carefully crafted without being too OTT.  It is Ludlow after all!
After popping it in his door, Ellie and I then set off on our walk across to the other side of the River Teme where I sit and look across at the allotments and plan which one I really, really want.  Husband said, when I told him of my proposal, Stan will think you as pushy as the lady who lived here before!  As if!?!

We walked, I sat and dreamed, planned and schemed, then blow me if on the return home there he was.  I told him of husband’s remark, his reply was it was good to have someone as keen as me.  And it looks like I might be getting ever nearer to the top as people ahead of me have fallen by the wayside and someone has given notice.  Fingers crossed.

In the meantime I am getting sorted in my sweet little garden which with its many arches looks for all the world like it is in direct competition with the railway arches under London Bridge  station.  One has bitten the dust already; in the picture there are two ghastly cheapo metal ones which I would really like replaced with a Andrew Gormley masterpiece flying across the garden like a cantilever on crack!

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Our bright young

collie Ellie who has gone from a quivering wreck at just anything and everything.  To now a bright exuberant bouncy ball of fluff!
And bossy to boot!
Yesterday I  foolishly taught  
her to put her ball on my chair.  After about three examples, now every time my bum hits the seat the ball is carefully placed for me to play.
My constant refrain is... 
‘All you can think about is pleasure!’  
After such a horrible start to life who can blame her?
The problem can be laid fairly and squarely at my door as I do tend to play with her more than I ever did my son, I hate to admit!

Ellie this morning trying to work out how to get her ball out.  In the early days if a ball went anywhere slightly out of her comfort zone she would back off scared of the consequences I guess?  

Today I watched her try to work out how to retrieve the ball, thinking all the while as she had picked up the ball on the chair trick so quickly this would be a doddle?  She gave up and looked to me to help her out.

The trick for me now is to teach her how to put the ball on the husband’s chair and give me a break.  I do seem to be ‘the one’ in Ellie’s world, which is fine until she wants to sit on my lap and I ought to say she’s no lightweight!  To add insult to injury she nudges my hand if I am reading or looking at my ‘flat thing’ (iPad).  Even tapping this out she is front paws on the side of my armchair, nudging my arm then laying her head very appealingly on my matronly bosom.
 You honestly can’t put a fag paper between us as to who is the biggest tart!?!

Saturday, 4 January 2020

As we totter...

into the new year I have made some pretty momentous decisions...
here goes...
I have decided I really don’t like parsnips.

Christmas crackers: after years of    viewing the contents of the best crackers I could reasonably afford.  It hit me fair and square between the eyes what a total waste of money and the earth’s resources.  For what? A moment’s instant gratification and more crud into landfill.

Moving here we have inherited a formal garden, which I must say was so appealing when we came to view. Informal is my mantra, life really is too short to clip box balls and these we have aplenty.  How many balls does a girl want I wonder?  The cottage garden before Hythe was a haven for wildlife, this one will be going the same way... relief!

A small pond will be dug.

I won’t be buying lots of Christmas chocolates, it is crazy as I don’t even like them!

My exuberance must be modified; just in from the college field where even Ellie called a halt to the ball throwing game!  Having a dog in my life is one of the many highlights of last year.  She is the sweetest most loving one I have ever had.  And to think I took so long thinking I would always compare and it wouldn’t be fair on her.  Not so!

Quite by accident in the form of a hairy heap I have started to get fitter, slimmer... a little, once the figgy pudding podge is gone.

The garden room cupboard is now orderly with all boxes with labels displaying their contents... who knew I could do it, not me for one!

Entertaining, I don’t anymore; the dormant recluse is stirring.  All I really want to do is just be, making not a huge impact.  Put a sock in it, when in the past I have always opened it and out has trotted the most awful old twaddle.

Not a lot to ask is it?

Happy New Twenties!

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

‘Does he have all...

his accoutrements?’  I kindly enquired as a chap allowed his rescue collie to screw his nose like a screw-in light bulb up Ellie’s rear end.  The husband beside me viewed his nails as if they needed a major overhaul, pretending all the while he hadn’t ever clapped eyes on me before this the first day of the roaring twenties.  Black bottom eat your heart out!
The man thought for a moment before replying.  The reason for the dog’s keen interest hadn’t occurred to him until that very second!  Whether it was my particular use of words or being asked such a direct question this early in the new decade, I really have no idea?
‘Err, yes,he has!’ he replied all the while I am sure, thinking to himself to unscrew is it clockwise or anti?

Sagely I said
‘That would explain it: Ellie has been spayed that obviously accounts for her total disinterest in sex!’

As we walked away the husband said you really do have a way with words...

BIg pink knickers…

 eat your heart out. Those of you who on occasion have been tempted to plough through my ramblings might remember my horror of dahlias and m...