Halloween Hodgepodge

If you’ve answered the questions today, add your link at the end of Joyce’s post (click the badge to find her host site).  Then go say hi to the blogger who linked before you because everybody loves company.  Here we go-

1. My hubs spent last weekend pheasant hunting. Are there hunters in your family? If so, what do they hunt? Which of the following have you tasted-pheasant, rabbit, venison, duck, goose? Which of those would you most like to taste or be most willing to taste?

No, definitely no hunters here! Not many guns generally here in the UK – well, legally anyway – and not many areas where game can be hunted by everyday people. Hunting tends to be the privilege of the aristocracy I’m afraid.

As for tasting those meats, I’ve had duck and would love to try goose and rabbit. Just so long as I don’t have to butcher them!

2. What high spot have you visited that gave you a wonderful ‘bird’s eye view’ of something below?

The highest place I have been to was the CN Tower in Toronto. We were on tour with the music centre band to Canada and America, and we had lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top of the tower. It was a fantastic view, but not as fantastic as the view from the (not quite as tall but equally beautiful) Skylon Tower at Niagara Falls on the same trip.

3. Do you have any birds in your home? These could be either real live pets or decorative, as in prints, fabrics, knickknacks, or pottery.

We have Albert Duck who lives on our fireplace. He has a broken bow-tie that we keep meaning to glue back on, but he’s otherwise solid wood. We bought him many years ago from the Albert Dock in Liverpool, hence his name (original eh?).

Albert Duck

Albert Duck

I crochet owls to give away as gifts. This is the one I made for us to decorate our home, and the one below is one I made for my son’s desk.

Home Owl

Home Owl

Ethan's owl

Ethan’s owl

4. Tell about a time you killed two birds with one stone.

As a woman, I think it’s hard to think of a time when I DON’T kill two birds with one stone. Come on ladies, don’t we all multi-task our way through our everyday lives EVERY DAY? We all do stuff while we’re doing other stuff, don’t we? It’s the way we roll. Loading the washing machine while the kettle is boiling for tea, sweeping the floor while we wait for the iron to heat up, feed the husband while helping kids with homework, etc. Either all that or we’re on our laptops checking Facebook, doing an online shop while watching TV and moaning at the kids to move their shoes/bags etc.

5  Your favourite song with a bird in its title?

When I was born, “Chirpy chirpy cheep cheep” by Middle Of The Road was number 1 in the charts. I guess that one always makes me smile.

6. What most recently gave you goose bumps? 

At band on Friday we ran through a couple of Christmas pieces and I gave Ethan (my son) a quite difficult bass trombone solo to have a go at. He not only played it but he played it well, and as a proud mother (and conductor) it gave me goosebumps to hear him play so beautifully. The solo was Frosty The Snowman and the arrangement we played is in four different styles, four different time signatures, has a long cadenza and covers 4 complete octaves for the soloist. The boy done good and his mama was very proud.

This is a link to a video of the piece performed a few years ago – not my son! – to show you the piece he sightread.

7. Halloween is this Friday…any plans? Did you trick or treat as a child? Carve pumpkins? Share your most memorable costume.

Yes, we’re doing Messy Church at Halloween, and I am not sure whether I’m looking forward to it or dreading it! I’m looking forward to the fun and games with the kids, and I’m looking forward to the “light out of darkness” theme, but I’m dreading it because I’m the co-ordinator and I don’t know that I’ve done a very good job this time.

We didn’t trick or treat as children, nor did we carve pumpkins because they are relatively recent activities to the UK. However, my Dad did carve swedes each year to put candles in which we put in our porch to shine out. We did do the occasional party where we dressed up, and my most memorable costume was when I dressed up as a highwayman, complete with cloak, tricorn hat and face-mask, and I nearly caused a crash as I was walking up the road to the party. Oops!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I really do have to get to the dentist soon. I’ve lost more off my broken back tooth and a bit off the inside of my front tooth today. Trouble is, I’m so terrified of the dentist that I was crying in terror when I rang Kevin to tell him and to ask him to make an appointment for me. That’s not even me ringing the dentist, but asking someone else to ring for me and I was petrified. Not good is it??


Daybook Entry – 26th October

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY
Outside my window… fireworks are going off like bombs. Don’t people know there’s another whole weekend before Bonfire Night yet?!

I am thinking… that the bigger the risk, the harder the decision

I am thankful… I negotiate my way through life with someone who not only knows me inside out but who is my strength to my weakness and weakness to my strength

In the kitchen… cheesy bacon pasta bake today. Two types of cheese, loads of flavour and comfortingly filling. Yummy!

Cheesy Bacon Pasta Bake

Cheesy Bacon Pasta Bake

I am wearing… grey tracksuit bottoms, black t-shirt. I’m feeling like I need to blend in today. Don’t want to stand out.

I am creating… loads of notes and bits of stories and narratives for my course, but coming up with some great ideas for some writing in the future. I just need a bucket-load of determination to get it all written.

I am going… to crack on tomorrow and finish my first assignment for my creative writing course and then concentrate on my music one due in a few days after my writing one.

I am wondering… if I’ll have time to finish the arrangement of “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas” for next band practice…hmmm……

I am reading… “Lamentation” by C J Sansom. (Yes, I finally finished The Detective’s Daughter and no, it wasn’t worth the effort).

I am hoping… that financial decisions this week will be the right ones for us.

I am praying for… the family and friends of Geoff whose funeral it is tomorrow; my mother in law who is still in hospital and very weak; a particular friendship that is undergoing a big change at the minute; my daughter

I am looking forward to… Boxing Day. Yes, yes, I know that sounds a bit odd but for a bander and a churcher, the coming weeks are anticipated to be full on madness in terms of places to be, things to do, concerts to perform, music to write etc. I always get very anxious about now just thinking about the things that are on the calendar and I feel very panicked about my commitments. At this stage, there doesn’t seem to be any gaps in which I can relax and switch off or simply ENJOY things as they happen. I know from experience that in reality things won’t be so jam-packed as all that and there will be opportunities to relax and enjoy the build up to Christmas, but that never helps me and it’s not helping me now. The anticipation of all the busy-ness is making me very anxious and I want to hide away.

I am learning… that if I want to keep my front teeth intact I had better get to the dentist this week. Things are not looking good on the lost filling/broken tooth front.

Around the house… tidy, tidy. (Yeah, in my dreams!)

I am pondering… what outfit to wear for Messy Halloween. I’m scary enough in my day-clothes so don’t want to terrify the kids by dressing up too outrageously!

A favourite quote for today: “Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” — Camile Pissarro

One of my favourite things… is the day the clocks go back. I love the change of atmosphere, the change in mood and the cosying in now of the evenings ahead. (I think that is a contributory factor to my feeling of anxiousness, perversely. The fact that I like cosying in during the winter and the full-looking calendar are at odds with each other somewhat.)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Church meeting tomorrow night, possibly going to watch City on Wednesday, Messy Halloween on Friday. Oh and plenty of writing!

A peek into my day…

We cleaned out the aquarium today and gave Terry a bit of a run in the living room. (We sanitised the floor afterwards!). Here are a couple of short clips of him finding his way around the house. The first is where he instinctively heads for the door (didn’t venture through it though, must have been too cold for him) and the second one he is instinctively heading back to his tank. He’s a funny little creature!



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Potiphar’s Wife

We had another fantastic study evening this evening at my church and we looked at Genesis 39, Potiphar’s wife and her attempted seduction of Joseph.

We talked a lot about temptation, and how must it have felt to be in each of the three protagonists’s shoes. What was Potiphar’s wife like? Was she really a bored housewife, a “Stepford Wife” of the day? What was she doing trying to seduce the staff? Was he the first?

And what about Potiphar? He went off to work each day leaving the care of his household in the hands of his most trusted servant Joseph, yet when he came home one day to the accusation from his wife that Joseph had tried “to have sport with her” (I love that coy euphemism!). How did he feel to know that he had been betrayed? On the face of it by Joseph (although he was innocent of the crime he was accused of), but really, he was betrayed by his wife too.

And poor old Joseph…yet again he was on the wrong end of the muddy stick!

The discussion focussed on temptation, and how we face temptation in our own daily lives. We talked about the differences between ourselves and Joseph – do we behave as he did and run away from temptation (even though it might land us in deeper trouble), or do we skirt it and still avoid it, or do we give in to it?

As ever, we ended up talking about music – and we enjoy singing a hymn or two (or three) – and tonight was no exception.

The Potiphar’s wife/Joseph story brought to mind Andrew Lloyd Webber’s fantastic musical, and to satisfy the itch I couldn’t scratch at the time, here’s a version of “that” song. Enjoy!


Wednesday Hodgepodge – 22nd October

Happy Wednesday everyone!


1. Elizabeth Lawrence is quoted as saying, “Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.” So have you done just that? And what did you leave undone in order to do so?

I do take time to sit or stand and watch. It’s not always easy to watch the leaves turn directly from my house, but I do like to watch the garden just doing it’s thang now and again. I especially love watching the birds and the squirrels playing, and in the storm the other day I loved watching the rain and the wind do their thang to my garden too! I guess the things I left undone that day was some coursework I should have been working on. I caught up in the evening though, so not all bad.

2. Since we’re talking turning…what is one thing you feel you’re doing ‘every time you turn around’?

I’m forever sweeping the floors here. We only have carpet on the landing and stairs, everywhere else is either lino or laminate flooring and I don’t know where the bits come from but the floors NEVER seem to be swept clean for some reason. Grrrr….

3. How hard is it for you to ‘turn the other cheek’?

It depends on the person, and the reason for them lashing out. If I feel it’s unwarranted then yes I do find it hard to “turn the other cheek”, but if I know what’s behind it or I can sense that the person is lashing out at somebody or something else and I just happen to be in the way then yes, absolutely.

4. When did you last turn a drawer, your car, a room, or your entire house upside down in order to find something? Did you find it?

We moved a lot of furniture round on Saturday to see how it would fit in a different position in the living room, and as a consequence I also did a big deep clean – a bit late for Spring, but my skirting boards and all the nooks and crannies got emptied and thoroughly cleaned out. Trouble is I sorted out all the piles of paperwork too and I lost a letter for Emma from the hospital that she needs tomorrow. Once everything had got put back and I realised I couldn’t find the letter I turned everything out from the recycling bin outside to find it (I distinctly remember ripping a hospital letter in half and putting it into the “to go” pile, but I was sure it had April’s date on…). Even though I was doubtful, the whole lot got tipped up and sorted through in a panic, and I still couldn’t find it. I didn’t want to tell Emma I’d lost it – she already thinks I’m hopeless! – and I got really upset that I couldn’t find it. Anyway, I went to bed that night and what was on my unit in the bedroom near the TV? Only the pigging letter I’d just tipped up a big wheelie bin for….doh! I remembered that I had put it somewhere “safe” just before we started on the living room.

Yes, my “hopeless” tag is well deserved I’m afraid!

5. ‘One good turn deserves another’…were you most recently on the giving or receiving end of that sentiment?

I don’t actually agree with this sentiment – one good turn is just that, a good turn. If we went around doling out kindnesses in order to receive one then we wouldn’t get any in return at all because nobody would want to make the first move. It is nice to repay a kindness, but in my book, kindnesses and good deeds should be done because they are the right thing to do, not to “earn” one back again.

6. Red, yellow, and orange are the colours of fall. And also fruit. If you were permitted only one colour of fruit in your diet which would you choose? This question isn’t as easy as it sounds, at least not for me.

Yellow. I can eat bananas at any time and all the other fruits disagree with me at certain times, so yellow it is for me.

7. The Hunt for Red October,October Sky, Halloween…which October film is your favourite?

I have to confess that I haven’t seen any of them but I’ll take Joyce’s recommendation and watch October Sky and let you know!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing recently, mostly for my OU course but for myself as well. I seem to have unleashed something inside of me through doing it and I have opened up areas of my memory banks and my creativity that once they have collided have left me with so much to write about I can’t keep up! I have also been having some very disturbed dreams too but as those of you who read my blog regularly will know, disturbed sleep is something that I comment on a lot so you might say that it’s nothing new now. But these dreams are not the normal kind of weird for me (my “normal” weird is akin to astral projection meets previous life stuff) and it’s as if some parts of my life that hold the worst of times for me are being rewritten in my dreams…and being made even worse, if that’s possible!

Not sure if it’s because of all the note-taking and observing I have been doing for my composition stuff, or if it’s just because there’s a lot going on and my brain is asking for a break or what, but I’ve not experienced disturbing dreams like these for a looooong time. Probably the times when I’ve been going through them the first time round.

Strange, but that’s me I guess!

I’ll share some of what I have been doing once my first assignment has been marked. I can’t publish anything just yet because it would fail the plagiarism filters if I post on here then submit to my tutor for marking. Crazy eh? I can be marked as a failure for copying my own work… Sounds like one of my weird-weird dreams doesn’t it?!


Thank you Joyce for turning my Wednesday evening into something delightfully thought-provoking and enjoyable!

Daybook Entry – 19th October



Outside my window… the wind is howling, darkness has fallen, leaves are being blown hither and thither and the beautiful earthy smells of Autumn pervade the air. This is my absolute favourite time of the year.

I am thinking… that I was a little bit hard on Ethan this afternoon when I lost my rag with him, but he has responded in the way that has made me proud. And relieved.

I am thankful… that my church family are so forgiving, especially when it comes to misbehaving technology during the service!

In the kitchen… we had home-made broccoli and blue-cheese soup for tea tonight and it was delicious! Sounds a bit strange but so easy to make and extremely tasty. Not only that, but it cost pennies to make too which is a bonus. In fact the most expensive item was the blue cheese which was £1.50 for 150g of Tesco Danish Blue. The rest was bits of veg we already had in so a very economical meal to make and went down VERY well with my boys.

I am wearing… jeans and my yellow polo shirt. Will get my “comfies” on later.

I am creating… loads and loads and LOADS of stuff for my OU course. I posted a short story earlier this week which is a piece I had done in preparation for my first assignment, so if you haven’t had chance to read it please give it a look for me if you would. I’d love to hear your feedback if you don’t mind.

I am going… to put the X-Factor results on shortly. We’re watching the Strictly results now, and recording the other side so we can fast forward the adverts and get to the meat of it within about 15 minutes.

I am wondering… how my lovely Emma is doing on her first assignment for her final year of her law degree. I helped her out with some proofreading this morning and it looks pretty good to me but it’s all about what her tutors want at the end of the day.


This is Emma last week. Isn’t that a picture a mother can be proud of!

I am reading… I’m still battling my way through “The Detective’s Daughter” from last week. It’s very hard going and I’m so bored with it, but at 76% of the way through I’m not about to give up now, and I want to know whodunit!

I am hoping… that the National Lottery got it wrong and missed a few 00’s off the end of our £9.60 win. Haha!

I am praying for… my mother in law still. She is extremely weak and is unable to sit up or lift her head off the pillow. She is on thickened fluids because of her inability to swallow properly and can’t speak any more. We can understand some of what she’s saying/asking but it is very, very difficult.

I am looking forward to… a bit early maybe, but I’m looking forward to Christmas.

I am learning… that I have more emotional strength than I thought I did.

Around the house… is order and cleanliness. We had a Big Clean yesterday in the living room and we have a lovely room again now. It smells lovely and fresh, and we have a great relaxing space to sit in.

I am pondering… having a stall to sell some of my crotched stuff in the next few weeks. I have got lots of samples of hats, blankets and toys etc and have lots of photos of my stuff so I can demonstrate what I can do and I’d like to sell some stuff, get orders for more and make a little bit of cash.

A favourite quote for today:

Romans 8:38-39 New International Version (NIV)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

One of my favourite things… is a proper home-cooked meal.

A few plans for the rest of the week: lots of writing! Some music practice, Stay and Play in the morning, hospital visiting, a bit of cooking, a bit of reading, a bit of gigging….the usual really!

A peek into my day… we came home from the hospital this afternoon to this little lady in the garden. I didn’t notice her before, but this is probably the last rose of summer in our garden and she is lovely.



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Short Story – “Lights Out”

“ ’The lights will go out across Europe and I fear they won’t be back on in our lifetime’ ”. Father shook out his newspaper in frustration. “What the hell does that mean!”

Grumbling to himself as he read more, pausing only to slurp greedily from his rapidly cooling tea from a saucer, Father continued with the story in the paper.

“Do you really have to do that?” Mother admonished, wafting a dishcloth at him angrily.

“It says here that we’re heading for war!” he exclaimed and stabbed his finger into the print to make his point. “Who do they think is going to fight in this bloody war then? The only fit men round here are all down the mines. Who’s going to bring up the coal if they want us to go and fight in sodding France? Is that what he means about the lights going out or what!”

“Hmph. I didn’t mean the news,” muttered Mother, fussing round the small kitchen and tidying the breakfast things away. “If you don’t stop slurping your bloody tea off that saucer, it’ll be YOUR lights that will be going out. And it won’t be no bloody Sir Edward who does it neither!”

lights out

This is a piece I have composed in preparation for my first assignment on my OU course, due in the week after next. We were tasked with writing a 200 word piece from a set prompt and then we had to write a commentary on it. I have not published my commentary here as that’s the bit that will earn me marks and to be honest I don’t want to get into trouble with the OU! I’m allowed to share the story so here it is. Please be gentle with your feedback if you would like to leave some for me!


I’ve had a rather productive day today, despite a very ropey start.

When I woke up I was full of the lurgy – pains in my head, that woody bit behind my ears was aching, my glands under my jaw were like golf balls and my eyes felt like they were trying to escape their restraints – so it was a bit of a slow morning for me. But once I got going WOW I got a lot done!

Before I’d even got out of bed I’d had an online argument with the EDL and some idiots on the Manchester Evening News website (don’t get me started on knuckle-dragging, short-sighted and narrow minded people that exist in our country), and once I was up I sorted out all the laundry (can someone explain to me how three people can generate an overflowing basket of washing in three days please? I only emptied it on Sunday!), stripped our bed and got the first of four loads on. Downstairs, I cleaned the whole kitchen, got rid of the bits of washing up that has been hanging around and the detritus on the worktop, and I bleached all round the sink, the cooker, the floor, the bin and all round the hall and the front door. Everything downstairs got swept, mopped or otherwise pummelled into being clean…and then I had my breakfast.

OK, OK, OK, it was gone midday by this time but wasn’t I good?! I needed to clean out the aquarium today too, but I can’t manage that all on my own so I took out half of Terry’s water and replaced it with clean by way of syphoning and scooping out in a pot. I should have taken him out first, but when I tried to pick him up he hissed at me (yes, really. Terrapins hiss!) and he ran away from me to hide under his basking platform. Grrr little swine…talk about making life harder. Anyway, he’s relatively clean now and has some nicely aerated water to swim about it again.

DSC_0732 (1)

On to the afternoon and after a quick stop for a brew and something to eat with my bestie I hit my study books. Washing machine still whirring away and now the dryer and the airer full too, I tackled my Inside Music work for the OU which I had been putting off. I had allowed myself two sessions this week to do the work I needed to this week and I am really pleased that not only did I finish it ALL today but I managed to get ahead on next week’s work too. Woohoo!

I took a couple of breaks from studying during the afternoon and kept up the swapping of laundry from machine to airer etc, and of course kept myself thoroughly soaked in tea. Lovely jubbly.

Before tea, I remade the bed and started on a creative writing piece for my first assignment which is due next week. After tea I did some crocheting and managed to make a big headway on the last of the blankets I have been asked for.

I feel quite accomplished today, which is a very pleasant change from the way things have been recently. As you know, things have been very difficult in all kinds of ways which has naturally had an impact on my mood and my buoyancy. I wouldn’t say that things are back to normal, but today was a chink of light in an otherwise gloomy situation.

For those of you who have been praying for my family and in particular my mother-in-law I want to thank you once again. She was a little brighter yesterday and was able to make herself understood more easily than in the previous days, but she is still very poorly and largely immobile. She cannot swallow fluids safely so as well as pureed food she now has thickened fluids so she doesn’t aspirate them which is both a choking and an infection hazard. I visited her for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon with Emma and we gave her a mini-manicure which she seemed to enjoy. Kevin visited her today but she was asleep and he didn’t want to disturb her so only stayed for half an hour. I’ll be going again tomorrow and will let you know she is faring after then.


Daybook Entry – 12th October

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY
Outside my window… ooooh Autumn is definitely here!

I am thinking… about how cruel life can be

I am thankful… that my Mum made our tea tonight. Thank you Mum, I don’t know what I’d do without you xx

In the kitchen… is a bloody annoying light that is blinking on and off. It seems to respond when we talk to it. Not sure if that’s us hallucinating or we have a really clever light

I am wearing… hoodie, tracksuit pants and a black t-shirt. Catching up with Strictly calls for sports gear even though I am a million miles away from doing any exercise right this minute!

I am creating… still working on some baby blankets that have been ordered by a lady at church and oodles and oodles of notes and story/character/plot ideas for my creative course

I am going… to bed soon. It has been a horrible day and tomorrow is looking as equally difficult

I am wondering… what tomorrow will bring

I am reading… “The Detective’s Daughter” by Leslie Thomson

I am hoping… my mother-in-law is not distressed and is peaceful tonight

I am praying for… to be honest, I don’t know what to pray for tonight. My mother-in-law is in the advanced stages of Parkinson’s Disease and has been taken to hospital again today. She is facing an operation tomorrow but we are worried she might not withstand the anaesthetic, and if she does survive it her quality of life is so poor it seems wrong to pray for recovery. It is very difficult for all of the family so I suppose my prayers would be that we all stay strong and can face the next couple of days together.

I am looking forward to… in the current circumstances it feels wrong to be looking forward to anything very much, but I am looking forward to handing over these blankets to my friend. The babies are not due for another couple of months but I want them to be with the parents soon nevertheless!

I am learning… that statistics and case studies mean nothing when it’s a member of your own family suffering with a cruel disease

Around the house… meh…..stuff, more stuff, bits of stuff, messy stuff….

I am pondering… selling a kidney so we can afford a cleaner

A favourite quote for today: “You can’t rewind a sunset” (said by me this evening)

One of my favourite things… is my Mum’s shepherd pie

A few plans for the rest of the week: apart from Stay and Play in the morning, this week is going to be pretty much a minute by minute, hour by hour “see how it goes” kind of week

A peek into my day… we went for a drive this evening to have a bit of clear air and just to change the atmosphere. As you can see we chose a beautiful time of day to go out!


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I’m All About The Postmodern Jukebox

Do you know how every now and again you find something so refreshingly different that you just have to go all evangelical about it? Well, have a listen to this!

I actually quite like the original of this song (after I’d got over the shock of who was actually singing it!) but this cover version is equally as good as that. I much prefer live and acoustic music to highly polished and overly electronically-enhanced noise, but for this song I can make an exception. I like the lyric and I like the message it is giving out. I also quite like the video despite what I just said about things being highly polished and overly enhanced!

I went a-hunting to see what other music PostModern Jukebox have produced and found a brilliant version of Livin’ On A Prayer.

Go and search for more of this band – they are fab!