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…

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 August 2016

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 15th August 2016

Outside my window… the sun is setting, throwing up a beautiful peachy glow over things in the garden

I am thinking… about doing a long-distance walk next summer, inspired by the beautiful countryside in North Wales where I have just been on holiday. There is a route from Holywell that winds its way from chapel to holy site to standing stones to chapel westwards towards the Llyn peninsula and then on to Aberdaron on the tip which, it is said, has been used by pilgrims for centuries. The whole route is around 135 miles and if I do walk it, I would probably mix camping out in the wild with B&B’s and proper camping overnights. My fitness levels need to be improved – a LOT! – before I seriously consider it, but I think it would be something good to set my mind to doing for both physical and spiritual healing.

I am thankful… for the two weeks of family time I have just spent in Wales in our little caravan. Things have been tense and stressful for too long recently and I think we all needed the break away from the routine and grind of daily life. There was a time when I thought we wouldn’t be able to have a holiday this year, even a cheap one camping in a farmer’s field like we did do, so yes, I am extremely thankful that we were given the chance to do that.

Family time camping in Wales
Family time camping in Wales

I am praying for… strength, wisdom, insight and guidance for myself; healing for a battered and bruised friendship; a light at the end of this very dark and winding financial tunnel I am travelling down.

I am wearing… shorts and a t-shirt. It’s been a hot day today in Manchester.

I am creating… a story about two friends who promise each other they will get together with each other if neither of them has a partner by the time they are 30. It’s a plot that has been done before (many times!) but there will be a twist to mine which I don’t think has ever been written yet.

I am going… to have my hair cut tomorrow. I have done it myself for the past couple of years and as there is still some money in the kitty from our holidays I’m finally going to have it cut by someone who knows what they are doing and who can even up my dodgy layers at the back.

I am wondering… if this broken tooth will hold up til next Monday when I can get to the dentist to have it fixed.

I am reading…  “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon. Kevin was given the box set of series one for his birthday and we watched it bit by bit in the evenings on holiday. I enjoyed it so much I have decided to read the book too. It’s a great story, one of my favourite genres, where Claire ends up slipping back through time from 1945 to 1743 and the eve of the Jacobite rising in Scotland. there are a lot of historical anachronisms, but they are forgivable because the storytelling is so good.

I am hoping… for a better night’s sleep tonight than I had last night. It was a good old-fashioned tramadol night last night, complete with twitching, restlessness, itching and hallucinations which have left me feeling a bit hungover today. Sleepy, not quite ‘with it’ and wondering if what I dreamed about someone being pregnant is just a flight of fancy or if my subconscious has picked something up and is playing it back to me under the guise of tramadol-induced ‘sleep’.

I am learning… to let go of things even though it hurts to do so.

In my garden… the hydrangea bush is a gorgeous colour this year. It has been pink or blue in the past but this year it is a beautiful lilac/purple colour. I think it can be explained by the change in soil pH after the removal of a tree next door a couple of years ago. I read somewhere once that the acidity or alkalinity of the soil where a hydrangea is situated has an effect on the colour of the blooms, and I think that’s what has happened here. I’d post a photo but it’s gone dark now. I’ll try and remember for next time.

In my kitchen… we had pasta which was brought back from Italy by Ethan a couple of weeks ago. He was on a band tour with Bury Music Centre and thought I might like to have some genuine Italian pasta, which was very thoughtful of him. It was multi-coloured and very nice. I did a chorizo, mushroom and tomato sauce to go with it – delish.

A favourite quote for today… “Young people might have lots of energy to run fast, but older people know how to read the map”

A peek into one of my days… 

Sunset at Nant Gwrtheyrn, Wales
Sunset at Nant Gwrtheyrn, Wales

This photo is one of my favourite from my holiday this year. A glorious sunset, the sounds of the waves below us on the beach and my son in silhouette setting up his camera to take some shots of his own.

One of my favourite things… the taste sensation that is sweet and salty popcorn mixed up together. Oh my word!

Post Script: My postscript today is a thank you and an apology to Mary. First of all, thank you for your lovely card which arrived the morning I left for my holiday, and an apology that I didn’t get to send you a postcard from Wales because I took your card with me but forgot to bring the envelope with your address on it! I have sent you a couple of cards in an envelope so you can see a bit more about where we were on holiday – expect it in a few days!



Daybook Entry – 13th July

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 13th July

Outside my window… there is still a trace of blue in the sky and it has gone 11pm

I am thinking… about the juxtaposition of tragedy and celebration today

I am thankful… that I have a ministry in the church

I am praying for… Millie’s family, Alfie and his mum, the children of Pike Fold School who came to Messy Church today

I am wearing… my hair loose for a change

I am creating… a jacket for myself. I have cut out the pattern pieces and the fabric for the lining, but I haven’t plucked up the courage to cut out the fabric for the jacket itself yet. I’m letting my knees recover before I get down on the floor to do that!

I am going… to take my son shopping for clothes tomorrow for his band trip to Italy next week

I am wondering… when his passport will arrive

I am reading… I’m in between books at the moment having finished “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult yesterday afternoon, but I did read a short story by Neil Gaiman last night called “Odd and the Frost Giants” which was brilliant. I don’t usually read fantasy stories, but this one was a great read and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants a satisfying read for half an hour or so

I am hoping… I don’t miss the delivery man tomorrow who is going to be bringing me my Dad’s birthday present in the post. I’m hoping my Dad likes it too

I am learning… that the human spirit is probably the toughest substance in the universe

In my garden… we have lavender, strawberries, thyme and parsley growing on the deck and the smell is divine

In my kitchen… we had a bit of a concoction for tea tonight – mushrooms, courgettes, yellow peppers, red onions in a tomato sauce with gnocchi. Not bad for a knocked-together quick meal

A favourite quote for today…

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

A peek into one of my days…

Dragon in the sky tonight
Dragon in the sky tonight

One of my favourite things… is seeing children singing and dancing in church

Post Script:

It has been a very trying time for me and my family recently and we have survived yet another storm in our lives. It has felt like life was giving us a bit of a kicking but we are on the up again now and looking forward to a couple of things this month now. First of all, Ethan is going away with the music centre for a few days’ concert tour in Italy next week then it will be our 25th wedding anniversary the week after. A few days after that we are planning on going camping although Emma won’t be with us this time and she is staying at home. She has been working away at a High Adventure camp for the past six weeks and between you and me, I think she’s a bit fed up of tents and sleeping bags at the minute! Our change in outlook is because of a couple of things that have come together at the same time and it has made things altogether feel better, even if they haven’t actually solved the problem. With prayer and faith, and the grace of God extended to us through our friends, life is feeling a lot happier and we have some things to look forward to now.



Dreary Daybook

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 8th February 2016

Outside my window… it’s horrible out there tonight. Wind, rain, more rain, more wind, even more rain and wind. And we have a leaky roof.

I am thinking… about my son’s parents’ evening we have been to tonight.

I am thankful… that I didn’t kill him on the way home but not quite as thankful as him!

I am praying for… Simon and his family; Anne Marie and Lauren.

I am wearing… pink jumper, grey t-shirt, black jogging pants, blue and white stripy socks. I am a walking piece of designer artwork this evening.

I am creating… not very much at the minute as I’m not feeling very creative. However, I did make these the other night to pass a quick half hour and some spare wool from my stash.


I am going… to spend the whole day working on my writing assignment tomorrow.

I am wondering… how my brother Alan and his wife Debbie are doing. We haven’t seen them for ages and it’s high time we organised a visit.

I am reading… “Abattoir Blues” by Peter Robinsonabattoir-blues-paperback

I am hoping… for an unbroken night’s sleep tonight. Last night was disturbed by the need to wake up early today, meaning that in order for me not to oversleep I was subconsciously scared of not going to sleep properly in the first place. Gah! Don’t you just hate it when that happens?

I am learning… to trust my instincts about storytelling.

In my garden… we have had a robin visit us every day for the past few days. I think he’s looking for food so I might put some out on the feeder for him.

A favourite quote for today… “I passed!!! XX” (From my daughter Emma who passed her driving test today at the first time of trying. Thanks muchly to my brother John who has been her driving instructor and whose brilliant teaching has got her through first time).

emma driving test

A peek into my day today… in the space of about 20 minutes I saw these two idiotic drivers parking like this. The first picture shows you a small sports car parked on the pavement with his offside wheels stuck in a grass verge, made muddy by the torrential rain all day and where he has parked because there was no room on the road. I filmed him trying to get out and I was not prepared to help him – apart from the fact it was wet, muddy and dangerous, my thoughts are that he got himself into that mess because of his own stupidity so he can get himself out. Or wait until there’s space on the road.


And this second picture is after a man drove up, threw his car into the disabled parking space, and then RAN into Asda at Eastlands. No blue badge on the dashboard, and no consideration for anybody who might have needed that spot right by the door. He couldn’t even get it between the (extra wide) lines.


One of my favourite things… is being told how lovely my children are, and especially how polite and well-behaved they are.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have an assignment due on Monday next week so I will be mostly working on that, but I have a lot of critical reading to do for my children’s literature too so it’s going to be a heavy study week this week. It is the start of Lent on Wednesday, so I will be going to an Ash Wednesday service at my church on Wednesday evening after a visit from my friend Helen and Friday night is band night.


Daybook Entry 24th January 2016

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 24th January 2016

Outside my window… we’re awaiting the tail end of storm Jonas that has battered the east coast of the USA. It’s all calm for now but it won’t last…

I am thinking… about what I am going to write for my end of module piece for my creative writing course. I’ve got a few ideas swilling around and I am going to have to decide soon so I can submit my plan.

I am thankful… that I managed to do two whole assignments this week.

I am praying for… guidance over a thorny issue I am wrestling with.

I am wearing… black t-shirt and pyjama shorts. Well it’s Sunday evening!

I am creating… notes on a screenplay I want to try out.

I am going… to Stay and Play in the morning, our mums and toddler group at church. It’s a bit of a bind getting up on a Monday morning but the kids and the mums (and the grandmas, aunties, carers, child-minders and my colleagues!) all make it worthwhile.

I am wondering… if we’ll see snow in a day or so.

buffalo soldierI am reading… I have just started “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman (it’s a set book for my Children’s Lit module) and for entertainment I have just begun DCI Banks book 20 “Watching the Dark”. I finished Stuart MacBride’s latest Logan McRae book “In The Cold Dark Ground” last night and it was a cracker. Well worth the wait from the last one, and I’ll probably do a book review in a day or so.

I am hoping… my hair grows quickly. I cut it before going to bed last night but I took a bit much off my fringe and it stands up a bit like I’ve had an electric shock at the minute.

Comedy haircut and morning face - can it get any worse?!
Comedy haircut and morning face – can it get any worse?!


I am learning… the Harvard system of referencing. And I have to copy one every time I need to write one.

In my garden… I saw a little robin this morning pootling around in the laurel bush. He seemed quite happy to be there, hopping from branch to branch and nipping at a couple of buds here and there. Happy chappy and I enjoyed watching him for a few minutes.

In my kitchen… we have just had hunter’s chicken, potato gratin, peas, carrots and broccoli followed by tiramisu. A proper Sunday tea.

A favourite quote for today… “God’s got this”.

A peek into one of my days…

I went on a training course at Manchester Cathedral this week and I was struck again by how beautiful and inspiring the building is and had to share this photo. It was a cold, crisp day which you can tell by the clear blue sky and the sunshine really set off the stonework. How’s this for a lovely view of Manchester?



One of my favourite things… is sharing pretzels with my daughter

From the board room… my next project!!


Post Script: My youngest will be 17 on Tuesday and I am looking forward to his birthday and dreading it in equal measure. Looking forward to it because it is one of those milestones that young people anticipate in the UK when they are legally capable of driving a car and he has been looking forward to that privilege for years, and dreading it because I can’t believe how quickly the past 17 years have flown by and how old I feel knowing I have a nearly-adult son. I look at him sometimes and my arms ache to hold that tiny baby again, to soothe his pains and his cries, to make sure he is asleep when he should be, awake when he should be, to make sure he is fed and comfortable in his clothes with no worries in his head other than where his next lot of milk or dry nappy will come from. I will probably blog more about him on the day (no doubt with some embarrassing baby photos too!) but for today, I just want to savour the last few days of him being a 16 year old before he turns that ‘adult’ corner into manhood.


Daybook Entry – 18th January 2016

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 18th January 2016

Outside my window… Winter is having a bit of a break. We have had some snow over the weekend but it has warmed up and dried up today and even though it’s still a bit chilly it isn’t exactly freezing.

I am thinking… about the stage directions in Peter Pan for an essay I’m writing.

I am thankful… that I don’t have to get up too early in the morning. The old body is a bit sore today and it needs its rest.

I am praying for… a family I have come to know recently who are living in a difficult situation which is set to get even more complicated in the next couple of weeks.

I am wearing… shorts and a t-shirt under my big thick dressing gown.

I am creating… a list of things I’d like to create when I’ve got some spare time!

I am going… to pick up my new glasses tomorrow. I will then have a distance pair, a reading pair and a middle-distance pair that I can use when I’m preaching or conducting, or when I’m on the laptop. At the moment I struggle with either fuzzy faces or fuzzy text.

I am wondering… how on Earth I’m going to get two assignments done by this time next week.

I am reading… “Bad Boy” by Peter Robinson. I can only read a bit of it at a time in between all the other stuff I’ve got to read. I’ve been studying Peter Pan so that’s been to hand for a week and I am just about to start “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman which is a set book for the end of the course assignment.

I am hoping… tomorrow is a migraine-free day.

I am learning… to trust my instincts when reading between the lines.

In my garden… I have an empty bird feeder which I will be filling up tomorrow to encourage some birds.

A favourite quote for today…

a year from now

A peek into one of my days…


Vital essay-writing tools

One of my favourite things… is cuddling new babies

From the board room…

I remember making something like these when I was a kid, only we used sugar or salt, and we left them to grow by the fire for about a fortnight. I wish I could remember exactly what we did now, but these that I found today look so much better than mine all that time ago.

Post Script:

I’ve just read that Glenn Frey of the Eagles has died, news which saddens me. One of my favourite albums as a teenager was Hotel California and his voice on Lyin’ Eyes was fantastic. I’m sad that he suffered at the end and I’ll be forever grateful for the contribution he made to the world with his music.

Here’s a video of a live performance of Lyin’ Eyes.


Daybook Entry – 9th January

021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFor Today… 9th January 2016

Outside my window… it is 8 degrees but feels like 2; it is raining; it is dark; it makes me glad I’m home

I am thinking… I should be reading a critical essay on Peter Pan instead of doing this

I am thankful… that my eye test this morning showed no health problems, and only minimal change in my vision

I am praying for… the people in communities who are still affected by flooding

I am wearing… a spare pair of glasses that I’d forgotten I had which are doing a great job of giving me an “intermediate distance” focus so I can use my laptop for the first time in months!

I am creating… a minion in rugby clothes for my daughter, Emma

I am going… to see the “Flying Scotsman” on a test run tomorrow

I am wondering… whether to have a gin and tonic tonight or stick with wine

I am reading… “Played to Death” by BV Lawson

I am hoping… to get my mark back soon for my last OU writing assignment. I’m excited by the project and just hope that bears out in my marks

I am learning… how to craft a story properly

In my garden… the spring bulbs are starting to show shoots in the soil. Go back! It’s not spring yet!!

In my kitchen… nachos for tea tonight. None of us are very hungry and we just fancy a snack

A favourite quote for today… actually, I am going to quote you an excerpt of a phone conversation we overheard on the tram today. A wife is talking to her husband on the phone and we guessed she was going to get off in the centre of Oldham outside Sainsbury’s:

 “We’re on the tram now. Can you pick me up from Sainsbury’s? (Pause) Ok, I’ll remind you when we get to Hollinwood. (Pause) Well if you’re not there we’ll kill time in Sainsbury’s. (Pause) Aye, thought you would be.”

Cue Kevin wetting himself laughing – “that’s one way to make sure he’s there to pick her up on time. Save himself a fortune!”

A peek into one of my days…

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I had to go into Manchester today for an eye test, and whilst waiting for the tram home I took these photos. They show the very essence of what makes Manchester so Manchesterish. First of all, there is the oldest pub in the city, Sinclair’s. It survived the IRA bomb of 1996 where it got badly damaged, and it was rebuilt brick by brick in a slightly new location here. It stands side by side with one of the newer buildings in the city centre, the Harvey Nichols and the Selfridge’s stores which are in complete contrast. Whereas the pub is brick, mortar, wood, plaster etc, the Selfridge’s is all steel and glass. Next, there is the view along Corporation Street which shows the footbridge/tunnel between the Arndale Centre and Marks and Spencer in the distance. This was the location of the 1996 bomb, and that bridge came to represent the resilience of the Manchester people. Next we see the Printworks on the corner of Shudehill and Corporation Street. It used to be called “Maxwell House” and it was home to newspaper writing and printing in the city. Now, it’s home to a multiplex cinema and numerous bars, restaurants and shops. It’s a fabulous place and has a character all of its own. And finally, the Corn Exchange. Another symbol of Manchester’s resilience and adaptability, this building has been here for over 100 years, replacing an earlier building from around 100 years prior to that. It has gone through a couple of changes of name, and it has gone through more than a couple of changes of purpose. Originally, it was used as a place to trade – hence the name “Corn and Produce Exchange”, it’s first name. It fell out of use when trade was difficult in the 1920s and 30s where there was a widespread depression and financial crisis. It has been used by the Royal Exchange Theatre Company as an extension to their premises further up Corporation Street (another centre for trade originally) and more recently was used as a place for “alternative” lifestyles. You could find second hand records, tattoo and piercing paraphernalia and practitioners, crafts, clothing shops etc, but it all came to a halt after the bomb. It was damaged on the inside from the blast, and was remodelled into a shopping centre and renamed “The Triangle” because of its shape, but that all stopped and a few years ago it was changed AGAIN and is back to being the Corn Exchange with quality retail shops inside. For me, it sums up the history of Manchester as well as its ability to rise above hardship and difficulty and still look as glorious as it did when it was first built. This little collection of photos are taken from the new Exchange Square tram stop outside the Arndale Centre. It has only recently been opened and is part of the new and expanded Metrolink system (or the tram as it’s known to the locals). Again, a demonstration of how Manchester continues to evolve and change yet still keep hold of its distinct Manchesterishness

One of my favourite things… is being out and about in my home city

From the board room…

Can’t wait to try these!

Post Script:

Well, we’re 9 days in and so far so good. Postaday2016 is underway…watch this space!


New Year’s Day-book Entry

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFor Today… 1st January 2016

Outside my window… it’s dark and wintry

I am thinking… about the new slate we have presented to us this time each year, and about the opportunity we are given to recalibrate a few things in our lives. I’m not usually one given over to massive lists of resolutions or anything, but the chance to adjust one or two things is a welcome one.

I am thankful… for the wonderful time I spent in the run up to and over Christmas with my friends and family this year. It is usually a very difficult time of year for me but this year for the first time ever I think, it has been a delight.

I am praying for… God’s hand in my decisions about my next steps; for R and P; for my cousin Steve and his wife Nikki who have welcomed a beautiful baby boy this afternoon and thanks for his safe delivery – welcome Ethan John.

I am wearing… my hair in pigtails (don’t ask)

I am creating… a drama script for my next assignment. Actually, it’s nearly done (I don’t think you can ever say it’s quite done as a writer can you?!) but I have got an idea of how I’m going to adapt it and submit it to the BBC as a spec script to see what they make of it.

I am going… to go for a walk around a reservoir tomorrow to blow the cobwebs out. I’ve been hard at work for the past 5 days solid and I need to stretch my legs.

I am wondering… if the weather is going to be mildly wintry, wintry wintry, or Arctic wintry tomorrow.

I am reading… “Shadow” by Karin Alvtegen. Just started it today but it has hooked me in from the very first paragraph. I finished reading Peter Robinson’s “All The Colours of Darkness” this morning which was a cracker too, and when I have funds I’ll definitely be reading the next in the series.

I am hoping… that we remember to extinguish ALL the candles tonight before going to bed. Last night one was left on and we very nearly had a disaster…

I am learning… that script writing feels more natural to me than fiction writing. Who knew?!

In my garden… we have debris still from Storm Frank who visited us through the week. By debris I mean broken fence panels, an upturned wheelie bin, three footballs all in various stages of decompression and decay and various bits of broken tree, shrub and rose-bush.

In my kitchen… I still have all the makings of a trifle which I thought I would take to my Mum’s for our traditional New Year’s Day meal together. But I forgot I’d planned that and forgot to do the sponge and jelly first thing this morning. In fact, I only remembered I’d planned it when we were on our way out of the door.

A favourite quote for today… “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” C. S. Lewis.

c s lewis quote 2


A peek into one of my days… the burned out candle

One of my favourite things… is eating roast beef with my family.

Post Script: My Facebook status last night (and no, I wasn’t drunk!)

So, my 2015 in a nutshell: I lost my mother in law, appeared on The Chase, dug out my cornet and made it onto Classic FM, played for a production of the Wizard of Oz and played in the Royal Albert Hall. I delivered my first real sermon, avoided hospital all year, learned how to do a decent haircut (including my own), seen Emma graduate her Law degree and sweated through all 5 stages of interview with her for the Royal Navy. I’ve been pulled by Sir Nigel Gresley and nearly drowned in Whitby. I got a hug that is about 30 years overdue, sterlingsop made an appearance and I wasn’t ill on Christmas Day. I have had one or two financial issues and I have laughed and loved and laughed and loved some more. If you’ve survived the journey with me congratulations, you get to do it all again next year!

There was plenty more I could have added to this list, but by cracky it’s been a busy year hasn’t it?! I have made a commitment to myself to record more of the shenanigans I get up to (even the ones I can’t share with you in public dear reader) so let’s see what this list looks like on 31st December. What does your past year look like? Are you going to be with me for the next 12 months? Yeah? Great! Let’s compare notes in 366 days time shall we?


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…


“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!

Daybook Entry – 23rd August

8598a-simple-woman-daybook-largeFOR TODAY 23rd August 2015

Outside my window… I am looking at the most clear-cut half moon I have ever seen. It is so crystal clear against a cloudless black sky it looks like someone has painted it on my window.

I am thinking… there is so much on my mind tonight I don’t know where to begin. It has been a long time since I last wrote a blog post and a lot has happened in the meantime. We have had a family holiday (which was fantastic), I have decided on a new health and fitness regime to try and get myself in some sort of shape (and not simply “round”), I have delivered a sermon today in both parish churches, I am looking forward to taking up my studies again in a couple of weeks and I’m getting excited about some of the writing ideas I have been working on. We had a barbecue at church last night which was brilliant fun. Touching too, especially when some older couples were dancing to “Every Time We Say Goodbye”. One of the couples in particular brought a tear to my eye because he is almost crippled with arthritis in his hips and back and she is a resident in a nursing home because she has dementia. To see them sharing such a loving moment dancing to that song together, and to see her singing the words was such a powerfully emotional moment it was almost heart-breaking. Yes, there is a lot on my mind.

I am thankful… for many, many things. Not least the gift of my faith.

In the kitchen… we had leftover chilli for tea tonight and we have a big cook-out planned to fill up the freezer with soups, sauces, curries and stews for the autumn and winter ahead.

I am wearing… grey t-shirt and blue shorts. My favourite colours and my favourite comfy gear when it’s hot and clammy as it is tonight.

I am creating… space. Much needed space in our house. We have inherited a lot of “stuff” from my parents in law’s house and we have amassed so much clutter over the years that our house is in desperate need of a clear out. I began with the bedroom last week, and this weekend we both tackled the boxroom so I can make more use of the space to study and contemplate as I need to.

I am going… to be accompanying my Dad to the hospital tomorrow for a routine procedure. Not particularly pleasant for him and I’m glad to be able to give him some moral support while he’s there.

I am praying… for my father in law Arthur, my friend Gwen, my friend Eddie. They are all going through a lot of upheaval and uncertainty in one way or another. My prayers are also for a friend who is going through some serious mental health issues that have a wider impact on other people.

I am wondering… how much longer Manchester City can keep up their winning streak. Three wins out of three so far in the Premiership gives us maximum possible points and some seriously good bragging rights.

I am reading… “Grave Secrets” by Kathy Reichs for a bit of lighter reading, but I am also trying to get through my reading list for one of my courses in October. I am trying to get through Little Women (yawn) and have got Treasure Island (yawn 2) and Mortal Engines (steampunk theme for young adults so not sure what to expect yet) and The Other Side of Truth to read next.

From the boardroom… A bit of anti-writing matter haha


I am hoping… that it isn’t too muggy overnight tonight. I could do with a decent sleep please.

I am looking forward to… getting back to routine when Ethan goes back to school…eek, I mean COLLEGE…and when my Open University materials arrive and I can get cracking on finishing my degree.

I am learning… how to do Celtic drawings and transfer them onto projects for wood burning. Here are a couple of things I made when I was on holiday last week.




Around the house… DON’T ASK!!!!! It’s just a stuffed up mess at the minute and doesn’t feel much like a home to be honest. Going to get to grips with that soon.

I am pondering… where to ride to tomorrow. I have been cycling a bit recently and have been gradually building up my mileage, so I’m looking at where to go and how far to go tomorrow to keep up my routine.

A favourite quote for today… “Prayer is when you talk to God; Meditation is when you listen to him”

One of my favourite things… is watching Manchester City win.

A few plans for the rest of the week: at the hospital with my Dad tomorrow morning, baptism preparation at church on Wednesday, leading study group on Thursday evening and band on Friday night. I will be cycling a couple of times and reading a LOT this week too! I also have a phone call to make to make a “date” for coffee with someone I am excited to meet again after a number of years without contact.

A peek into my absence…

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