January Daybook


simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 11th January 2017

Looking out my window… I can see clear blue skies, but I can hear the wind howling and there is a storm on its way.

I am thinking… I might cook cheesy bacon pasta for tea tonight.

I am thankful… that mental health in young people is taken seriously.

One of my favourite things… is driving with my son to band practice and having a natter about all sorts of things, both big and small.

I am creating… this little beauty. I began it during the evening on Boxing Day (for my non-UK readers, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day) and it is going to be used when we go away in our caravan this summer.

Rectangle blanket based on the traditional "granny" stitch, using rainbow colours. Three repeats of the individual colours followed by three rows of each colour afterwards. Just starting the blue three now and hopefully will finish it this weekend.
Rectangle blanket based on the traditional “granny” stitch, using rainbow colours. Three repeats of the individual colours followed by three rows of each colour afterwards. Just starting the blue three now and hopefully will finish it this weekend.

I am wearing… layers, layers and layers today. The heating is on but I’m bone-cold.

I am reading… “The Coroner (Coroner: Jenny Cooper Series)” by M R Hall

I am watching… The BDO World Championships on TV this week. I love watching the darts, and the BDO suits me because it is not as high-powered or glitzy as the PDC competitions. Darts are good to crochet to as I can listen and only half watch the TV as I’m concentrating on the yarn in my hands.

I have been listening to… Pemberton Old Band rehearsing for a competition this weekend in Skegness. My son plays bass trombone for them and I sometimes give him a lift to rehearsals. I have enjoyed the experience of being a groupie rather than a player since he started playing with them, and it makes a refreshing change for me to hear a piece of music being crafted into a performance piece to contest level by a band of this calibre. They are in the First Section (one level down from the Championship Section but working on their way back up) and they are a level above where I played with Middleton Band before I stopped playing.

I am hoping… my brother recovers quickly from his surgery yesterday.

I am learning… to trust my instinct.

In my kitchen… I have been making the effort to cook proper meals from scratch. We have a limited food budget and sometimes it can be a challenge to eat healthily all the time, and I have been enjoying the challenge of finding recipes and dishes that we can eat to fill us up, fill us up healthily, fill us up healthily and inexpensively.

Board room… we are looking at the story of Jonah and the Whale for our next Messy Church and I really want to do this activity with the children:

Post Script: I found this site (Strategies for dealing with change) when I was looking for something to help someone I love who is going through some really difficult, anxious times. I found this picture, and thought it would be great to share with you too. Please visit the host site for more like this.

 

Shared Quote…
strong-roots

Closing Notes… I began this post this morning, about 12 hours ago (which is why I said the sky is clear blue and not the midnight black it is now) and today has been another one that has been packed with drama, fun, music, family, planning, crafting and laughter. I thank God that my life is so varied and that it is filled with so many people who stimulate me in so many different ways. I have to say that being a mum is challenging at the minute, and I trust God to see us through the particular storm we are weathering just now. I am grateful to my friends who visited today too – a bit of a giggle and a chat with people you love goes a long way to making things feel better! And music. Ah music. Where would I be without you? Laughing with Ethan and Megan in the car going to band rehearsal tonight and having fun finding music that we all like. Fortunately all three of us have similar musical taste and we enjoyed a great 45 minutes each way listening to all sorts of stuff, from First Class’ “Beach Baby”, to the cast recording of songs from “Sweet Charity”, by way of Glen Campbell and his “Rhinestone Cowboy” (with alternative words, courtesy of yours truly) and a bit of “Hairspray” to finish with. You definitely can’t stop the beat if you’re travelling with the Pamster at the minute!

 

 

Daybook Entry 15th December


8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 15th December 2015

Outside my window… it’s a rather mild night out there tonight. A bit damp, but not at all wintry.

I am thinking… about Tim Peake and how he has managed to rocket up from Earth to space today. I am not usually interested in things like that, but for some reason this time, I have found it fascinating stuff. Perhaps the Big Bang Theory has got something to do with it!

I am thankful… I have a wide circle of musician friends who can step into the breach at short notice with everything from music to stands to their time to their instruments to their expertise in insolvency.

I am praying for…  a friend whose mum died this evening; for those I know where Christmas is a painful and unhappy time.

I am wearing…bonjela on a fiendish mouth ulcer right inside my bottom lip which is so sore now it is even making my chin ache.

I am creating… a pair of fingerless mittens for my friend Gill.

I am going… to be singing carols in three residential care homes in Blackley tomorrow afternoon.

I am wondering… why my hands are bruising so easily at the minute. Honestly, they’re like over-ripe peaches and every time I give a little knock I’m coming up in a bruise. And they’re sore too.

I am reading… the most infuriating book ever written. Well, perhaps not THE most infuriating book ever written but one that’s definitely on the list of top 10. It’s called “A Journal of Sin” by Darryl Donoghue and is about the murder of the local priest during a storm which conveniently has cut off the local village by floods. The investigation is undertaken by a visitor, who just happens to be a rookie police officer who has no jurisdiction, very little experience and no communication facilities. The priest has kept a series of notebooks over the years in which he has written notes on various confessions from his parishioners, and we are led to believe that he was murdered for something in one of these notebooks. The premise is good and the characters are just about plausible, but what is irritating me is the narrative itself – it is laborious at best, and overly simplified at worst. It is very much of the Agatha Raisin or Hamish MacBeth ilk, almost comic and very stereotypical. It reminds me of Hot Fuzz in some ways too, such as the over blown ways the characters are drawn. You could ask me why I have kept on reading it, which is a good question. My answer is that I want to know who killed him and why (the author has successfully hooked me in) and having invested the past two nights in reading it so far, I am closer to the finishing line than the starting block. Hey ho.

I am hoping… that this book has a decent ending!

I am learning… that I need to be more organised sooner, especially when it comes to having to lead other people

In my garden… the shrubs have all had their winter trim now and a lot of my greenery has gone (sob). I am looking forward to it all regrowing in the spring (yay).

In my kitchen… are the ingredients for red onion chutney which I will be making tomorrow or Thursday.

A favourite quote for today…

hope2

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible”

A peek into one of my days…

Poor Santa

We had a visit from Santa at our end of term party yesterday at Stay and Play. Poor Santa, he’ll be out of hospital sometime next week thankfully!

One of my favourite things… is a nice cup of tea.

From the board room… favoured procrastination method today:

Post Script:

Silly season is about halfway through now and so far so good. Only the one issue healthwise (the ulcer) and only a few tears (not Christmas related). This time next week it will be family and fun times and I am really looking forward to it all. Bring it on!

The Listerine Pedicure


You will have seen the internet meme that went viral about using Listerine and vinegar to help get rid of the hard skin on your feet. Surely girls, you have seen it?

Being cursed with horny hoofs myself, I thought it was something to have a go at to see if it could help. I mean, what could go wrong? It was only mouthwash, vinegar and warm water – nothing too sinister and if it didn’t work, the worst that could happen was that my feet would be as they were before.

So I decided to give it a go.

foot soak

Not wanting to bust a fiver on “proper” Listerine, I thought it might work just as well with a cheaper alternative. After all, the active ingredient was bound to be the same. Wasn’t it?

The one I chose was blue, just like Listerine, and instead of the hefty fiver from Morrisons yesterday, I thought I would try it with their own brand. At 95p it wouldn’t be a waste of money and I wouldn’t feel bad if it didn’t work.

The other ingredient in this cocktail was “white vinegar”, which if you are from the USA you will no doubt be able to get by the bucket load, but here in the good old UK, the closest I could manage was “distilled vinegar”. Well, it was see through so it was bound to be the same, no?

So I set about putting together the foot-bath this evening after the consumption of a bottle of wine.

First of all I looked at the quantities for the recipe. It stated “1/4 cup mouthwash, 1/4 white vinegar and 1/2 cup of warm water. Now, ladies, I don’t know about you but a cup can be anything from a dainty tea cup to a great big Sports Direct mug here in England, can’t it?? I thought that maybe the cups I use might be ok, but as it turned out, they produced only a small amount of liquid. Wasn’t even enough to drown a mouse in let alone soak my big trotters.

I thought that so long as maintained the ratios, things wouldn’t go too badly so I tipped the full bottle of mouthwash (500ml) and the full bottle of distilled vinegar (568ml) into a small plastic box (I was banned from using the washing up bowl – “ew, we wash the POTS in that!”) and added two bottles-worth of hot water to the mix.

It certainly looked like the picture on the internet but…blimey, the SMELL was nothing like I could have anticipated.

If you think of mint sauce that has been left on a buffet table all afternoon in the height of summer you will be somewhere near the horrific aroma that came up from this bowl of blue foam. Nevertheless I went ahead and plunged my feet into it and was quite surprised to find that it was quite nice.

For about three seconds.

And then the split under my little toe on my right foot and the hang-nail on my right big toe made themselves known. Don’t forget ladies, this mixture – albeit a pleasant shade of blue – is a quarter part of vinegar. Which is acidic. And makes cuts and splits sting like mad.

The towel I had handy for drying after my foot-soak was swiftly deployed as an anti-scream device, which brought much hilarity for my son and my husband. Apparently, watching your mum’s feet turn blue while tears are streaming down her face as she tries to stop herself swearing is fantastic fun. Whaddya know??

The stings calmed down after a few minutes and my feet settled into their little warm, minty bath quite nicely. The stink continued though and I started to get a bit uncertain about how much it would linger overnight. I am due in work tomorrow. Not just “work” work, but “exam invigilating in a room full of teenagers all morning” kind of work. And I’m due at a family funeral at lunchtime. Oh boy. This was not going to end well!

However, after a fifteen minute soak (during which time the water went very cold, very quickly) I jumped under the shower to try to wash off the minty/vinegary smell. I used my usual pumice on the hard skin and be honest, apart from a slight blue tinge around my nails, my feet feel FANTASTIC.

There is a lingering tingle from the mouthwash, and I’m yet to see if I wake up with smurf-feet in the morning, but all in all it is well worth the effort because my feel feel lovely and soft now, and the pumice was much easier to use because of the pre-soak earlier on.

Pam’s Verdict:

Softness of skin – 10/10

Freshness feeling 10/10 (good to use in summer perhaps when feet are hot and tired?)

Hard skin removal 5/10 (no different from a “normal” foot soak really)

Entertainment value for the family 15/10!

 

 

Photo of the day


image

This. Is me at the end of a very long day today. I was up at 4am being ill and since then it’s been a full on day.

It was fantastic though and can’t complain about running a Messy Church today with my church family.

I was asked the other day what Messy Church was and in a nutshell it’s church for people who don’t want to go to a formal Sunday morning service. It is for families to come to together, and the “messy” part is because it’s full of arts and crafts, games, singing, dancing and food without any formality whatsoever. We have a theme and everything on the day is linked to it. Today’s was about belonging,and what it meant to belong to something. So for example we made friendship bracelets for each other, made a photo collage of each other as we belong to our own family and the messy church family, and had great fun painting the kids’ feet to do footprints on big rolls of paper. Eddie our vicar made his footprints alongside theirs to signify that God always walks beside us because we belong to him.

After running about all day and thoroughly enjoying myself I’ve enjoyed putting my feet up tonight and catching up on some recorded TV.

A great day all round!!

To do….


image

Sorry, couldn’t resist! I have been a bit busy these past few days and the only way I have been able to get through it all is to have a “to do” list and then with my way through it item by item, but this caught my eye and I thought it summed things up perfectly.

Next on my list is “drink wine and go to sleep”!!

What’s on your list to do in the next few days? Drop me a line and we’ll share our burdens.

Best wishes to you all, Pam

Seven Word Saturday


Luxury rooms are nice; my bed’s nicer!

We spent the night at Kilworth House last night, a fantastic hotel in the Leicestershire countryside where my cousin’s wedding was held.

It was a beautiful place and our room was gorgeous. The bed could have comfortably slept at least four people, and the shower was strong enough to straighten my hair! It was a lovely treat to be in such lovely surroundings, and for a joyous occasion too. The journey there was pretty awful but we had a very nice run back home again today which made up for it.

We’ve been to friends this evening for a barbecue and party, which was brilliant. I love meeting new people, and for two nights running now I’ve been privileged to do just that.

However nice the hotel room was and how comfy the bed was, I’m ever so glad to be back in my own pit tonight.

You can’t beat your own bed, can you?!

Pristine


Today’s Daily Prompt is as follows:

Pick a random word and do Google image search on it. Check out the eleventh picture it brings up. Write about whatever that image brings to mind.

I asked my daughter’s boyfriend, Sam, to give me a word – well he was just sitting here watching TV so I thought I’d involve him – and he gave me the word “pristine”

This is the 11th picture on Google when I searched for it.

 

 

What a beautiful place this looks. Sun, sky, sea, sand and shade – a perfect spot for relaxing and just beingThe thing that strikes me most about this picture that it isn’t pristine is it? The word “pristine” evokes an image of perfection, but this beach is pristine, not perfect. It should be perfect sand with no seaweed or driftwood, a cloudless sky, uniformity in the waves and the colour of the sea. This picture is far from perfect in that sense, but to me, it is a perfect image of somewhere to enjoy and to savour as nature intended.

This pristine looking beach is unspoiled by human waste and construction; it is untouched by vandals, litter louts and concrete monstrosities in the name of “progress”. It does have natural litter – the seaweed, the pebbles and shells, the dead branch in the foreground – but instead of detracting from its pristine-ness it only adds to the beaches natural beauty.

I could see myself in this picture with a group of family and friends. Maybe a driftwood fire just beyond the picture’s edge to the right, or a fire-pit slowly cooking some seafood wrapped in seaweed and buried in the sand. I can smell the saltiness of the smoke as the dried out driftwood crackles and sparks with flames. I can see the different colours within the flames as the minerals from the sea burn out of the wood. I can feel the warmth of the fire as the sun is setting and the breeze is gently caressing us as we sit and eat, chat, laugh and sing. Someone has brought a guitar and they are gently strumming a couple of chords, a bottle of beer set into the sand while they play. An array of larger stones is littered further up the beach where a couple of people are drying their feet after paddling at the water’s edge. A couple of fish are suspended over the fire, speared on sharpened sticks and flavoured with fresh air and sea salt.

When we go home later we will leave the beach as pristine as we found it. You’d never know we had been there.

 

 

Fictitious Police Quiz


Something different today chaps. Here’s a quiz for you:

1. In his series of police investigation novels, all of which contain the word “prey” in their titles, John Sandford presents which hero?

2. Ian Rankin has put Edinburgh on the map with his series featuring which Detective Inspector?

3. And J Wallace Martin did the same thing for Manchester in her “Bird Yard”, leaving the investigation to whom?

4. In 1997 Lisa See introduced us to crime in China with “The Flower Net” featuring which policewoman?

5. Michael Connelly began a series about a Los Angles Police Dept. detective in “The Black Echo”. What is the detective’s name?

6. James Patterson has a series including “Cat and Mouse” all about the same detective. What is his name?

7. John Connolly began a series about Detective Charlie “Bird” Parker in 1999 with which murder mystery?

8. In 2000 Mo Hayder’s first thriller was called “Birdman” and it introduced us to whom?

9. In “Prayer For The Dead”, “Close To The Bone” and “The Edge of Sleep” David Wiltse has created an unusual investigator. His name?

10. A classic series with Scotland Yard background was created by John Creasey under the pseudonym J J Marric, about which detective?

11. What is the name of Greg Iles’ Louisiana-based cop?

12. In “Hornet’s Nest” and “Southern Cross” Patricia Cornwell presents two new female cops, a Police Chief and her Deputy. Can you name either of them?

13. Linda Fairstein’s heroine is not a police woman but an Assistant DA in New York in three books. Her name is …?

14. James Patterson’s thriller “1st To Die” is about a female homicide inspector in San Fransisco. Her name please.

15. What is the name of Martina Cole’s policewoman heroine?

Leave your answers as comments below and I will let you know which are correct. Have fun!!

 

 

 

Questions taken from “The Great Book Of World Facts, Lists and Quizzes”.

 

Five Things


Happiness
Image by ernohannink via Flickr

Five things that made me happy this weekend:

1. I finally felt better after three weeks of prolonged illness and pain.

2. We had a family barbecue last night but it rained. I am happy that we have got a canopy over our deck and we stayed out by the fire under cover and we had a great time.

3. Being treated to dinner at the Peacock Room on Friday night

4. We have had a superb tea created for us by my lovely husband tonight: oven roasted vegetables (peppers, courgettes, baby sweetcorn, button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and red onions in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper) with a pork steak and rice.

5. I managed to complete an arrangement of In The Mood that has been a creative block for the past couple of days.

 

There were lots of other things that made me happy this weekend, such as trying Pimms for the first time (3 jug fulls later and we’re still standing), meeting a family who wanted their child baptised today and sorting them out with all the ins and outs, singing new hymns in church this morning, having lunch with my Mum and Dad on the spur of the moment, having a tidy house (for a short space of time…), sunshine, Emma being home from work early yesterday, not breaking Eddie’s iPad in the baptism service this afternoon, being served by Gareth on the checkout in Asda, sitting with the ladies at the coffee morning yesterday and having a good laugh, making myself hurt through laughing at Donald when he said “the Cemetery Pub in Rochdale, that’s where they sell Boddy’s”…….the list goes on but those are my top 5.

The Pamster is a happy chappy tonight!!!

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 3rd May


Welcome to this week’s hodgepodge. I love taking part in this meme and I am ever so grateful to Joyce for coming up with thought-provoking and juicy questions week after week. If you you want to join in please click the button above and follow her guidelines.

1. Have you ever been served breakfast in bed? Do you enjoy that? If someone were serving you breakfast in bed this coming weekend what would you hope to see on the tray? I don’t recall ever being served breakfast in bed other than my husband bringing me the occasional cup of tea in a morning before he goes to work. But if I did get it this weekend I would like to see tea, toast, marmalade, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and a couple of rashers of bacon. The food wouldn’t be that important to be honest. What matters more to me would be the thought behind it and the presentation. Care and attention counts more to me than details about substance.

2. What is one piece of advice you would give a new mother? Just to relax and enjoy time with your baby. Don’t worry about the housework or what people think if you have dirty dishes in the sink, just take your time to love your baby and don’t worry about anything else.

3. When was the last time you wanted to scream? Explain. Scream in fear – never, I’ve never been a screamy sort of girly girl. Scream in anger or frustration – a LONG time ago!! I went through a very bad patch about 10 years ago and everything sort of fell apart in my life. I did a lot of crazy things and eventually broke down but before I did, screaming in frustration and anger seemed to be just bubbling under the surface for most of the time. Thankfully things are much better these days and I haven’t been wound up to that sort of pitch for a good long while.

4. Can you hula hoop? Ha!!! Only on the Wii, not in real life. I am so uncoordinated it’s not true. I conduct a brass band and can just about manage that, but if you ever saw me do aerobics you’d fall about laughing at me!

5. What is something people do in traffic that really bothers you? Drive too close behind me. I have been shunted a couple of times and I am always wary about other drivers getting too close to hit me again. We were hit from behind by an articulated lorry on the motorway a couple of months ago and it was probably the single most frightening that’s happened to me whilst driving. I was asleep at the time – in the passenger seat, not driving! – and the driver just rammed into us and kept going. It was awful. The jolt of him hitting us woke me up and then the car was out of control because he was shoving us along from behind. Scary stuff!

6. What do you do when people don’t admit they’re wrong? It depends on who they are. The closer they are to me then the more sarcastic and scathing I am (my poor husband will attest to that) but strangers just get my cold shoulder.

7. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘fun’? Family, seaside, flying kites, paddling in the sea, fairground rides, candy floss and (don’t ask me why) rubber ducks.

8. Insert your own random thought here. Digger our hamster died last week and today my daughter brought home his replacement….two miniature squirrels with horrible long tails. She says they are gerbils but they look very strange to me. I’m not sure I am going to get very fond of these two; it took it out of me emotionally when Charlie died a couple of weeks ago and now Digger as well. Digger was my favourite and I had hold of him when he died. I can’t go through that emotion again, especially not for another rodent!!  The gerbils are called Claude and Scrat. No fear, you’ll probably be hearing a bit more of these two as time unfolds.