Cannibal Glasses


I broke my glasses on Remembrance Sunday and as they are the ones I wear most often I was pretty distraught and had to get them fixed immediately or else I wouldn’t have been able to see to drive, or cook, or watch TV or anything. The opticians I originally bought them from was closed on the day, so I asked the chap in SpecSavers if he could help. He was very kind and managed to glue the arm back on somehow, and I’ve been very lucky to have had good use of them since then.

However, yesterday, the mended bit began to go again and today it was so bent I had to take action. I put a small plaster round the hinge to hold the arm on the frames, but quickly realised that having a huge white thing in my peripheral vision was not the best thing and so tried to take it off again.

Oops – the hinge broke completely and so I was stuck without an arm on my glasses.

Up steps Kevin with his set of small screwdrivers and an old pair of glasses and, voila!

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He has managed to put a pair arms from one pair onto the frame part of my current pair, and I now have a fully functioning pair of glasses again!! Thank you Kev! A bit of a cannibalised pair of specs, but beggars can’t be choosers can they?!

 

I have to say that the screws in glasses are so tiny, the people who make and repair them must have eyesight like hawks to be able to see them properly. It took Kevin the best part of an hour to do this for me, and that includes the time taken (twice) to clean up the blood and dance around the room clutching his finger as the screwdriver slipped and stabbed him (twice) in the pad. Ouch.

Lesson learned: don’t put sticking plaster on your glasses when they break or else it causes no end of sore fingers for your husband!

 

 

All Change!


We have lived in our house for 18 years now and when we first moved in we did a quick paint job in the back bedroom to make it fit for Emma, who was about 4 years old. We wanted bright and cheerful so we painted two walls bright yellow and the other two blue (City blue, what else?) and that has been pretty much it ever since.

Emma lived in that room on her own until Ethan was born the year later and they shared for a good long while until we had to split them up. Ethan went into the small boxroom (tiny boxroom, it was just about big enough for a single bed and a rug) while Emma stayed in the back bedroom. Then, when Ethan was about 15 or so he became a bit too long for the bedroom so we had to swap them over. Emma was happy enough to go into the tiny bedroom/boxroom and Ethan was in his element being in the big bedroom at the back. We had planned on decorating the room at some point but we have never got around to it. Until now.

Emma has been to university and now lives at her Grandma’s round the corner, and Ethan has about 18 months left before he flies the nest for uni himself and so, what better time to do some decorating?!

The bright yellow from 18 years ago is now a bit, well, dull. And the blue is faded to say the least. These photos don’t really do it justice, but to give you an idea of what it looked like up til today, here are a couple of pictures:

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When we painted the walls originally, it was just to cover up the painted anaglypta wallpaper from the previous owners. They must have put a couple of layers of paint on because when we started stripping it today it was like stripping off paper mache! Underneath that paper and paint was hiding this paper layer. We are guessing it is the original paper from the 1940s judging by the pattern and the quality of the dyes on it.

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It has been a pig to get off – I’m sure they stuck it on with flour and water mix rather than wallpaper paste! – but it’s all off now and ready for repapering tomorrow or Wednesday.

Ethan has had to move all his stuff out of the room for us to do the job and we are going to try and get it all done this week. He’s having to sleep on a mattress on the floor of the living room for a couple of nights, so the race is on.

Keep your eye out for some more photos as the job gets done. It has taken us 18 years to get this job started, we are going to make sure it has been worth the wait.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 25th February


1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen? (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?

I haven’t watched any of those movies and to be honest, the only one that strikes any chord of interest for me is “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. The others don’t look like anything I would enjoy.

I don’t think actors should use their acceptance speeches for promotion of any agenda. They are given the opportunity to thank all those who have helped them get where they are and to maybe dedicate the honours to the memory of someone, but politics and social agendas should not be spouted from the podium in my opinion. If they want to do that, then do it like other people do it and put their effort into it and get out there and DO something.

Incidentally, “Whiplash” is going to be one of those movies that would probably touch me personally which is why I wouldn’t go and see it. It is about the abuse of students at a music conservatoire by a particular teacher and it is too close to home for it to be “entertainment” for me. I have witnessed similar practices throughout my musical life and it’s not something I wish to revisit.

2. Speaking of the movies…are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It’s Not Easy Being Queen.Thanks Carrie!

I would be comfortable going to a movie alone, but as I am not really a big movie fan it would have to be a spectacular movie (and one that hasn’t been hyped up) for me to go and see it either alone or with someone else. Dinner in a restaurant…hmm…yes I would feel uncomfortable doing that.

3. What’s the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself?

We tend to do most DIY projects round the house but the last time we paid someone was when we had the landing and stairs carpet fitted before Christmas. Even with hindsight I admit that it’s not something that we could have done ourselves.

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you’re a fan, what’s your favourite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown?

Love it!! I could swing a golf club and probably hit upwards of a dozen Indian places near my house and near my where my son will be going to college in September in an area of Manchester there is what is affectionately called “The Curry Mile”. It’s a stretch of road where literally every single building along it is an Indian restaurant or take away and the smell is divine. I have prepared my own too, which is a lovely thing to do, although I am not good at things like the side dishes and snacks. My favourite is Lamb Rogan Josh, or Lamb/Chicken Bhuna. Coincidentally I had a craving for Biryani for tea tonight. This is a craving that has yet to be satisfied, so watch this space!

5. A song that reminds you of your parents?

Anything by Frankie Valli and I have no idea why!

6. The 26th of February is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What’s your favorite, or one of your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with aparticular fairy tale?

I LOVE fairytales and I have got many happy memories of having them read to me or reading them myself when I was a child. My Dad used to read to me most nights and we worked our way through anthology after anthology of fairy-tales and other children’s stories before we moved onto the meatier stuff like Charlotte’s Web and The Peppermint Pig. My favourite ones generally were the ones where my Dad did the voices (pretty much most of them!) and my favourite was The Tinderbox, which is a story about a soldier who tries to reach the princess and has to go past a series of guard dogs. Each successive dog had eyes that got bigger and bigger – the first had eyes the size of tea cups, the next had eyes as big as saucers and so on until the final one that had eyes as big as dinner plates – and that’s all I can remember about it without looking it up, but I remember asking my Dad to read that one several times over.

7. What’s a problem you solved yesterday?

I’m not sure I solved a problem exactly yesterday, but I did tackle one and that’s getting my son to do some revision for his upcoming exams. I have been gently reminding him since this time last year about the need for revision, and recently I’ve stepped it up from “mild nagging” to “outright riding his back” about it. I ended up sitting down next to him and doing some Physics and PE revision with him to make sure he did something last night. Go on, ask me anything about the pyramid of participation in sport then!

8. Random thought for the day:

How can 16 year old boys sit for hours playing stupid car chase games but struggle to concentrate longer than 10 seconds on school work?

 

 

 

Daybook Entry – 11th February


FOR TODAY

Outside my window… Winter has revisited with a vengeance! Blizzards and freezing rain earlier on, and a deep and crispy coating on everything now as night as fallen and the moon is painting everything with a sparkly glow.

I am thinking… about what it feels like when all the manageable juggling balls in your life suddenly become like bowling balls and come crashing down all at once.

I am thankful… to have got to see my GP today. I have waited for over three weeks for this appointment to come round!

In the kitchen… I have a new floor. You may have seen the photographs I posted over the weekend of my fridge behind the front door and other appliances littering the rest of the house? Well, the job was all finished on Sunday and a mighty fine job it is too! My husband still has flat knees from spending two solid days on them over the weekend to fix things. (He forgets he’s not as young as he used to be…)

I am wearing… vest top, thick fleecy hoody and jogging bottoms. Comfy!

I am creating… I am crocheting a blanket for our caravan. It’s nearly big enough but I want to do another couple of rounds yet to make sure it is PLENTY big enough. It can get draughty in a caravan you know.

I am going… to carry on with my Open University studies after all. Things had been getting me down recently and when I got my latest assignment score back earlier this week I was so disheartened that I wanted to just throw the towel in and give up. But after some solid support from my fellow students online and from my friends at church I have been made to see the bigger picture and it aint all that bad you know. I have finished the first half of the course tonight (yippee!) and will be moving onto the second stage tomorrow. Only another 14 weeks and it will all be over for this module. I have enjoyed it but it has really tested my resolve and my ability to concentrate through the fog of analgesics, but hey, I’m better for it so bring on the next stage!

I am wondering… if it will snow again overnight, and if my son will be in school tomorrow.

I am reading… “The Outcast Dead” by Elly Griffiths. I am only up to chapter 3 or so, and the story is just unfolding. I have read the previous books in this series so I am familiar with the characters and the plotlines, and I have loved them all so far. This one is shaping up to be another corker with the discovery of an ancient skeleton in a place where it shouldn’t be…with a hook for a hand and a local legend about the identity that is complicating matters.

I am hoping… I have finally come to the end of my latest “episode”. It has been a struggle this time round, and I have managed to push my best friend away because of being so badly out of sorts. I forgive him his reluctance to come close when I’ve been like a tetchy lioness with thorns in her paw, but I could have really done without the extra misery of his absence on top of everything else.

I am praying for… my friend who is going to be starting chemo next week following a mastectomy a couple of weeks ago; my friend who has started back at work this week after having her baby and who was terrified of the change in routine and of leaving her daughter with other people; my friend who struggles when things go wrong emotionally; my Gran who is continuing to surprise us all with her cheerfulness and positivity after her fall last week; a gentleman at church who has been told this week that he has inoperable multiple cancers, and for his family who are with him; and the people in the south of England who are facing such a terrible time in the floods. It is incomprehensible in this, a so-called forward thinking country, can suffer so much because of the weather, causing people to lose their homes and even their lives.

I am looking forward to… getting to bed shortly, I’m pooped.

I am learning… just how hard it is to study university level material at my age.

Around the house… things are quiet and (mostly) tidy.

I am pondering… which course (if any) to study next for my degree. Have I learned my lesson this time round, or should I take this as a warm up and really go for it to finish my degree??

A favourite quote for today: “Anybody there?”

One of my favourite things… is my new fleecy hoody. It has seen me through the blizzard earlier on, and is lovely to cuddle up in when I’m feeling mard.

A few plans for the rest of the week: studying tomorrow, new study group at church tomorrow night, music group Thursday night, band Friday night, OU tutorial on Saturday afternoon.

A peek into my day…

This was my view as I walked back from the doctor's today. Brrr!
This was my view as I walked back from the doctor’s today. Brrr!

 

 

Come and join us at  http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/ and join in!!

View From The PamCam


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This is the view of my front door at the moment. You might think you can see a fridge and a bin behind it… Your eyes do not deceive you!!

The reason is that over the past 6 months or so we have had an increasing squishiness underfoot in the kitchen. Kevin has looked and looked and can’t find a leak or anything, but there was definitely water seeping from somewhere. It has got so bad that the vinyl was starting to break up so it had to be replaced.

Kevin chose today to fix it and so my living room is entertaining the dishwasher and the washing machine, and you can see what’s in the hall.

To his credit he has cut away the old vinyl floor, removed the (very soggy)  underlay, dried the concrete floor, fitted and laid the hardboard underlay and is about 3/4 of the way done of laying the new tiles.

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That’s the back of my cooker you can see. And the reason we’re having takeaway!!

Kitchen Update – nearly there!!


I just wanted to let you have a brief update of what has been happening in the kitchen today and yesterday, but there are no photos because I have lost track of my camera during the movement of cupboards and things today.

We are at the stage now where Kevin is doing battle with the base units and sink unit, trying to get them levelled and fixed to the walls and each other. The cooker is IN and working and we have had our first food cooked in it tonight (wahoo!) and it’s just a case now of:

  • fitting all the base units
  • altering the sink unit to fit
  • cutting the worktops
  • tiling the splash-back for the sink
  • buying and fitting the stainless steel splash-back for the cooker
  • altering some wall cupboards to fit
  • finding a board to reuse as a window sill and then painting it
  • building up a couple of new cupboards
  • fixing all wall cupboards up, including the one that is going to go round the boiler
  • hanging the new door (my Dad has spent all day rebuilding the door surround, rebating for the hinges, cutting for the latch and the handles and planing it to fit, but it needs painting and hanging yet)
  • sanding down and repainting the back door
  • fitting the microwave brackets to the wall and putting that back in the kitchen
  • moving the fridge back from the living room
AND THEN…
I’m going to go shopping for hanging racks and hooks for my utensils (and a couple of new pans but don’t tell Kevin), sort out my plates and cups etc to put in my new cupboards, go food shopping for proper food, stock up the cupboards, and then clean the house from top to bottom and catch up with all my other household jobs that have been put on hold for the past couple of weeks.
I think the next update I do will be when everything is in and replaced, so the next set of photos will be the FINISHED set!!
Definitely getting excited now!!

Kitchen Update – Part 9


Nearly there!!

Since the last update so much has happened in the kitchen that it’s almost ready to be called a room again. The wallpaper is all up, the lights over the sink area are connected up, the flooring has been laid (this afternoon), the electrics have all been finished off and the cooker hood has been installed.

Here’s the photos to show you how all that happened:

Kevin knocking out the wall for the extractor hood

 

Getting ready to paper - Dad's touching up the emulsion and Kevin is dropping his plumb bob to line up the first piece of paper

 

Paper on the walls made it instantly feel better

 

Cooker hood in place, papering finished off...getting exciting now!

 

The black on the floor is a damp-proof membrane because the floor is solid concrete. The green is underlay and the vinyl will sit on top

 

Here, we have the south wall showing the space where the sink unit will go, the cleaned up boiler housing on the east wall, the cooker hood on the west wall and the underlay for the vinyl all fixed in place and ready to go.

 

EEK!!! Floor nearly laid!

 

So the stage we’re at tonight is that the floor is down now, all trimmed and glued in place. The kitchen door to the hall has been removed (hurrah!!) and will be replaced later in the week. The back door (where Kevin’s head is here) is looking mankier and mankier as the project has gone on, so that will be getting some well deserved TLC at a later date – probably next weekend now. Kevin is – as we speak at this very moment – bringing in the washing machine, the dishwasher and the new cooker with the help from my Dad. I’ve not been much help today because I haven’t been very well. I started to feel a bit grotty yesterday (I think I’ve done too much in the past couple of days, like driving and things that I haven’t done for months and months and months) and I had a really bad night last night. Today I’ve been like a zombie because I’ve had to take regular doses of tramadol. It’s great for the pain for lousy for the brain function!

Anyway, the kitchen is looking like a room, the appliances are being brought in, the cupboards will be started tomorrow morning, the main lights need installing and then there’s a little shopping trip due to Ikea later in the week for those “finishing touches”.

Excited much!!!

Kitchen Remodelling – Part 1


We moved into this house over 14 years ago and at the time and we had very little money with which to make the house our new home. We did a few bits of decorating to make the rooms ours, and over the years we have gradually redone the bathroom, the living room, Ethan’s bedroom and our bedroom. We tickled the back bedroom (which is now Emma’s room) and we “made over” the kitchen in an attempt to put our stamp on it.

We made new panels to cover the existing cupboard doors and Kevin rebuilt some of the cupboards to make them bigger, taller, narrower and basically better and we bought new worktops to add a bit of newness to the room. We then painted over the tiles and the artex on the walls and the whole colour scheme was a nod towards the Mediterranean idea – terracotta, blue, yellow etc.

However, over the years, the cupboard carcasses have deteriorated badly and are in such a poor state now they are starting to disintegrate. One of the drawers doesn’t have runners any more and has to be hoiked along wooden battens; every time we open two of the other drawers a shower of sawdust drifts down to coat the contents of the cupboards underneath; the red paint on the tiles is peeling off in random places; there are holes in the ceiling where we had to replace the light and it didn’t get patched up properly; the worktops have got quite marked on the edges, and around the sink the top is starting to separate in layers.

It’s a bit grim!

As ever, we have no money to do anything about it but we have been blessed, and I do mean blessed, to be given a whole new kitchen FREE from a friend of Kevin’s. The couple who are getting rid of theirs have had it for a couple of years but now apparently “need” a new one and we are jumping at the chance to do something about our rotten kitchen by accepting their used cupboards. Not everyone would accept a kitchen used by someone else, but I don’t care. They are new to me and it’s better than what we have got, and the fact they are coming free of charge makes it so much sweeter!!

We started in earnest last night and first to be done was to empty the cupboards and move the essentials into the living room for the interim.  We now have the fridge, a cupboard with a bit of worktop on, the kettle, microwave and toaster set up in the living room in the space where the dining table was (now in the garage) and all my food, pots, pans, cutlery, plates and cups are in various boxes and crates all over the house.

Next came a test to see just how easy the tiles are going to be to take off….and boy did it feel good to rip them babies off the walls! I did the tiles and Kevin did a bit of the artex as well as removing the big cupboard from the corner.

Here’s a couple of pictures for you to see the “before” and the “just started” stages.

Cupboards over the cooker (west wall)

 

Sink area with pans hanging on the rail (north wall)

 

Wall cupboards (east wall)
Door to the hall (south wall)

 

Stage two (in the next couple of days) will be where the room is stripped out completely and before the walls get skimmed and papered all being well.  The biggest problems I can foresee are the ceiling – which I think is going to have to be replaced completely – and the wall behind where the fridge was, which used to be a doorway and was patched up (literally) by the previous owners with a peculiar combination of bits of plaster board, cardboard, the odd brick and a couple of newspapers. Good grief!!

Kevin taking out the first cupboard - eek!!

Looking forward to having it finished but not looking forward to camping in my own house in the weeks it is going to take to get it all done. Hey ho, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs. And you can’t build a new kitchen without rebuilding the walls of the old one first.

This is my living room today. As you can see it is…erm…”busy”….!

My "living" room

 

I wasn’t going to post this but the more I think about it the more I want to share it. As you can imagine, our house is in chaos at the minute but this is a picture of my daughter last night. Amidst the chaos and dust and movement and noise, she sat and did her college homework without a murmur. How’s THAT for dedication to education?! 

Emma working throughout the chaos (and shielding her face from the camera!)

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – Feb 23rd


From This Side Of The Pond

Hahahahaaaaaaa!!! Another corker of a hodgepodge from Joyce. Come on and join in if you fancy having a go. Just click on the button above and follow the rules. Happy Hodgepodge!

1. Did you know there is a National Day of pretty much everything in the universe? February 23 happens to be National Inconvenience Yourself Day…when was the last time you were inconvenienced?

Saturday just gone. We had to go and collect a parcel from the DHL depot in Trafford Park because the driver messed me about TWICE in the week and wouldn’t leave it with my Mum. I’d taped a note to my porch asking them to deliver it to her house (5 doors away from mine) but they wouldn’t do that because I hadn’t signed it and I hadn’t stuck to the OUTSIDE. They said she could have been anyone, despite the fact that she had my door key and offered to go and open the house for him AND the postman vouched for the fact that she was exactly who she said she was and that she was my Mother. But no, the stupid driver said “it was against the rules” so we had to go and get it ourselves 2 days later and about a 40 mile round trip. Much inconvenience!!

2. When a room in your house needs painting who does the job?

It’s funny you should ask that question as we are in the process of redecorating our bedroom this week! Those of you who follow me on Facebook have been following the progress, but back to the question the painting falls usually to me – I LOVE IT!! I hate all the preparation though so we usually do that between us, but glossing and emulsioning are down to me.  (I have got gloss paint in my hair as I type this but for various reasons I won’t/can’t remove it til tomorrow…the curse of frizzy hair!). It’s yellow walls tomorrow yeehaa!

3. Are you friends with your cousins?

I most certainly am!! I have four cousins who live some distance away but 23 who live more or less locally and we are all friends. Not necessarily in each other’s pockets due to the age range – I’m the eldest and the youngest is 12 – but we are close on the big occasions.

4. Do you use an alarm clock? If yes-is it an actual alarm, music, or something else?

When I was working I had my phone alarm play music which I changed from time to time because I learned to ignore it whilst I was asleep, but nowadays, no I don’t. It’s very rare I have to be up for anything timed but Kevin uses a radio alarm clock. The radio comes on at 5.55am and then his phone alarm goes off at 9 minute intervals from 6.30am until he gets up.

5. What do you put ketchup on?

Not much because I find it too sweet, but when I do have it it would be on chips (English ones!) or cheese on toast.

 

6. What smells make you nostalgic?

Old papers – they remind me of my school music room and library which were the two rooms I absolutely loved to be in as a child.

7. Have you heard about the high school English teacher recently suspended as a result of some things she wrote in her personal blog? You can read the story here but in a nutshell she vented a lot of frustration onto her blog. She didn’t mention individual students by name but she did make some harsh comments about kids in general and their parents.

What are your thoughts-If you’re a parent is your child’s teacher online and are you ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ there? If you’re a teacher are you on facebook and do you accept or friend students on fb? How about their parents? If you’re a student are you friends with your current or former teachers online? Do any of them have blogs you read? If you’re a teacher or a parent do you ever use your blog as a place to vent your frustrations with our educational system? So much to discuss…

I hadn’t heard about this story so just read it now. I can’t see anything wrong in what she did, only that maybe she should have said it to the appropriate authorities in the appropriate setting rather than in such a public arena. However I agree that she should be free to express her opinion and she is perfectly entitled to say what she feels about the way the kids are with her. If she feels that the kids are lazy and whine all the time then she is entitled to say that. I used to work in a high school and I made it a rule that wouldn’t “friend” students or their parents on Facebook, not because I wanted to say bad things about them but because my Facebook persona is different to my professional one. Facebook is for family and friends to share personal things with (as this teacher’s blog was for) and I wouldn’t use it to vent my frustrations at the system or the parents at school. And believe me, there were hundreds of situations that I could have vented about!!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I’m going to Blackpool this weekend to compete with my band at the North West Area Championships. If we come in the top 2 we will qualify to compete at the National Finals in September so the pressure is on! We will be playing “Resurgam” by Eric Ball (a Salvationist), a tone poem inspired by an epitaph he saw on a bombed gravestone during World War II that read “he shall rise again”. It’s a beautiful piece of music. Very descriptive and atmospheric, full of contrasting drama and peace. There are thunderous passages signifying a soul in torment and long hymn-like sections describing a soul in peace. It closes very unusually on a diminuendo – a 12 bar “amen”.  My contribution will be playing the timpani, bass drum, cymbal and the all-important tubular bell (chiming a Gb for those who are interested). I hope I don’t let the sticks roll off the timps this time…they make an awful noise as they hit the deck and the rest of the band are playing pianissimo!!