Monday 27 December 2010

Well, that was Christmas, that was!

I finished the last post wondering what it was going to be like waking up childless on Christmas morning and I can tell you it was … OK! I still woke up early and sat around waiting for John to wake up but I have to confess the excitement levels weren’t quite the same. We’d already decided that we would wait until the boys & FDIL arrived before we’d even touch any presents and that was just fine!

Previously we’d have had breakfast about 10.30 after we’d prised Son2 from his bed (he doesn’t do mornings) but this year we had a lovely cooked breakfast at 9 o’clock and were all cleared away, veggies prepared by 10! I had a feeling that Son1 and FDIL would be early arrivals so thought it would be a good idea not to be wearing pyjamas when they arrived! They let me down and didn’t arrive until 12.30 – Son2 was actually the first to arrive which was very surprising!

We had a huge mountain of pressies under the tree – it must have looked like we favoured Son2 but a mental calculation of the financials meant they came out equal – thank heavens for a certain large store that has regular discounted days!

I had some lovely gifts, notably copies of Jane Brockurst & Kaffe Fassett inspirational quilt books, some lovely flannelette fat quarters which I think I will turn into a very simple square quilt with a thickish wadding in time for next winter. I also got a lovely cake stand, something I’ve wanted for a while and, as has become traditional, a years supply of Dove shower cream!!

As this is the first year we’ve had visitors for so long I can’t remember, I thought I’d make a real effort with the table and stuff. This is where I show you a picture – only it isn’t because in the excitement I forgot to take one! But trust me it was lovely – red & gold was the theme, with my table runner at the centre of attention. Flatteringly (I think) FDIL thought I’d bought it!! Dinner was consumed with delight – not a lot of anything left anyway so that’s a good sign.

Son2 had man-flu and was not at all well, FDIL had been out the night before(!) and Son1 had just finished nights so they all slept through the afternoon – not wanting to be left out John joined them, again this is where I show you a photo – not. I was wedged on the sofa and couldn’t get up without disturbing the sleeping beauties, I did try to capture something with the web cam but failed on that too!

Our visitors departed around 5.30 leaving John & I like Darby & Joan for the evening to watch Christmas TV and eat the remains of the food. I just loved The One Ronnie – especially this is sketch

Great update on an old favourite

Yesterday John was going to football with Son2 (I’d kindly given him my ticket – too blooming cold for me hehe) but it got cancelled about 90 minutes before kick-off, instead Son2 went home and John and I went looking for some cheap furniture for our (now) spare room so that all the people queuing up to come and stay will have somewhere to put stuff, we succeeded in getting a couple of bedside chests and a chest of drawers…mm, seems a shame to have them empty, perhaps I’ll decant some of my stuff…

So now it’s Monday. What’ll I do? There’s only so much sorting and tidying a girl can do – oh, go on then I’ll get the machine out if you insist!!

Friday 24 December 2010

Christmas Post


As I woke up at stupid o’clock this morning I thought I’d use my time wisely and have a quick update of the Ramblings!

The madness from last week has so far continued with lots of things to do and little time to do them in! Monday has been our only ‘normal’ evening this week – by normal I mean getting home about 5.30, plonking myself down on the sofa, rising only to cook dinner and go to bed! Yes, I confess that that is my ‘normal’ evening pattern, I’d like to say it’s because I’m slowing down and don’t have the energy anymore but, if I’m truly honest, that had been the case for many years now – maybe I’m due to enter an energetic phase in my life (but then again, maybe not!).

Tuesday evening took me off for the Christmas meal with work colleagues. We went to a ‘Hollywood Nights’ themed evening at our county showground which was very nice – they even had a carousel ride (yours truly, being the coward that I am, did not venture on) just outside the function room – they were very brave souls who ventured on,  let me tell you, because it was absolutely freeeeeeezing outside. It was lovely to see everybody in their finery shivering and shaking as they got off – amazing how many women sat side saddle because their skimpy clothing wouldn’t permit them to hoist themselves across the saddle! John came with me because we had a last minute cancellation and it seemed a shame to waste the ticket – at least that meant he had a Christmas do this year! I have to report that I stupidly drank a tad too much and felt really awful all day on Wednesday – plus the alcohol managed to make me relax enough to have a boogie on the dance floor resulting in my back aching like crazy as well! I need to remember that I just can’t do that anymore – at least it’s only once a year!

I meandered through Wednesday in my zombie-like state looking forward to the evening with Son1 and FDIL coming round for pizza takeaway and to ice the Christmas cakes. I supervised this year in the hope that perhaps next year I can pass the job over to FDIL entirely! When I say ‘ice’ the cakes, what I really mean is to open the packs of ready rolled almond paste and fondant icing and lay them neatly across the cakes – the days are long gone when I’d make my own fondant! There is a skill required though in smoothing the fondant in to place, removing pleats and creases that happen as you plonk it on the cake and she did a very good job! They just need finishing off now with the cut out snowflakes that we’ll add from the trimmings of the fondant.

I was so glad to see the end of Wednesday and took to my bed really early in an attempt to regain my feeling of well being!

The sausage rolls I made on Sunday found themselves the centre of attention at work yesterday lunchtime which means that I need more for home – I also need more for work because they were so popular people want them today as well! We have a mini tradition of eating all day on Christmas Eve at work, being the loving person that I am I let most people go home early and stay behind myself to cover what needs to be done so this means we start eating about 11 o’clock if not sooner! So last night I made another 24 sausage rolls which I am about to put in the oven and take to work (back now – egg glazed and in the oven (the sausage rolls not me!!)).

I was thinking last night as I rolled out the pastry at 8 o’clock that only at Christmas would I ever do such a thing! I mean, most evenings I struggle to decide which easy dinner we’ll have – minimal effort is my general theme – and here I am after a day at work and a trip to Sainsburys, up to my elbows in flour – I must be mad!

So, as I sit here 6.10 AM on Christmas Eve, I’m thinking that, apart from cooking tomorrow, I’m all done. A full day at work beckons but I’m optimistic that it will be a fairly quiet day – strangely people don’t seem to want to come to hospital on Christmas Eve – can’t think why! I quite like this time of year work wise because it gives me a chance to tidy up, sort out the stuff that’s been neglected and to clear the decks for the New Year – and plus most colleagues seem to be less stressed as well which makes a nice change!

Tomorrow the boys and FDIL will be coming for dinner – it will be the first Christmas morning that we’ve woken up without a child in the house for 23 years – how weird will that be? I’ll let you know…


Merry Christmas everybody and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Can you tell what it is yet??

Naughty Nicola posted this on Sunday as a teaser for me! Those of you that have visited her blog already will know just how talented she is with fabrics – I think she has a real knack of putting colours and patterns together but she denies this!! Yesterday she revealed the whole thing to me and here it is in all its glory.


The light isn’t very good and doesn’t show the lovely colours at their best but I hope you get the idea!


It’s a one off and absolutely gorgeous – thanks Nicky and thanks for the inspiration, 2011 may be a very colourful year!!

Monday 20 December 2010

A Mad Week!

What a week! Time just flew last week with one thing and another which left me with very little time to think about anything! Son2 spent the first night in his new home on Sunday after a day spent ferrying bits and pieces around. I’ll confess to feeling a tad wobbly on Monday and Tuesday but that feeling soon passed. Of course I miss him but, as with Son1 when he moved out, not in the way I thought I would!

I had yet another birthday on Wednesday, they just keep on coming, and the boys both came round for dinner – that in itself was a weird experience – quite tiring! Now that neither have a bedroom to disappear to after dinner we had to entertain them! Yes we all sat around talking as if we had real visitors! When they went I sank into my chair as if I’d been entertaining all day! I had some lovely presents as well – a Radley umbrella, two quilting books, a crochet/knitting book, a lovely bundle of fat quarters in a batik fabric – very pretty – and some lovely quilt label fabric. Unusually no smellies or chocolates!

Oh nearly forgot to tell you – I bought a new food processor! A couple of weeks ago I saw a man at the checkout in Sainsbury’s with a huge box containing a processor. At the time I nudged John and said ‘oooh look at that – think I might treat myself next time I come in!’ I sneaked a peak and saw that it was £99 which I thought was OK as I’d got quite a lot of loyalty points that would help reduce the cost. Anyway, I went in the other evening to find that it was now reduced to £79!! With £67.50 in points I got an absolute bargain! I don’t feel too bad about my treat as my old mixer was 27 years old – John bought it for me on our first Christmas together, it’s certainly earnt its retirement!

Day off on Friday saw me meeting up with Janet in town. We had planned to be a little more daring and go out to a local village but as we had snow the previous evening we decided not to risk country roads and played safe instead. I also finally bought John’s Christmas present – the way I was going he would have had an IOU on Saturday morning!!

On Friday evening we went out for our traditional birthday family meal (Son1 & moi!), sadly Son2 had a prior commitment and couldn’t join us so it was just John, Son1, FDIL & I. We went to Zizis  - I had the tastiest duck I can ever remember having, it was divine and the meat just fell off of the bone.

Haircut Saturday – I’ve gone a bit shorter than usual! I hope when I wash it I can make it look as good as my hairdresser did! Oh and a near disaaaaaster! The shower wouldn’t work on Saturday morning – plenty of pump type noise but no water – John went in to the loft to find that the lagging hadn’t been replaced by the engineer a couple of weeks ago. The pipes were frozen in our well insulated loft! I had the bright idea of leaving the loft open for a while to let some heat waft up and by mid afternoon they had thawed – happily without bursting. What a mess that would have made! (edited – hair came out OK this morning!!)

Being the very kind and loving mother that I am, I offered my ticket for football to Son2 on Saturday – and to the sceptics amongst you, no it wasn’t because a) they’ve been playing very badly lately or b) the weather forecast was not too good! Well, it turned out I missed probably the best match of the season so far! Played in a blizzard and with the ground staff coming out at half time and just into the second half to clear the lines we actually won 3-0 – can you believe it? I watched on the TV and it looked a fantastic game – I’m just glad I was in the warm watching it!

Nearly finished – don’t give up reading now, you’ve come so far! Sunday arrived with a really chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 centigrade) and, as the Sunday before Christmas is usually my baking day, I set about making sausage rolls and mince pies – using the new food processor for the latter and a really easy quick flaky pastry a la Delia Smith for the former. John graciously informed me that they were the best sausage rolls I’ve ever made – not bad after 27 years of baking for him!!!

It was Son1’s birthday yesterday – he was 23, how did that happen?? He and FDIL came for dinner along with Son2 and his laundry (!) we had a lovely roast dinner – good practice for doing it all again on Christmas day!

So that was my last week – sorry it’s so long – and here’s my Christmas tree, sadly the most decoration the Ramblings will see this year!!

Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a happy and prosperous New Year!


Wednesday 15 December 2010

A moving tale

Today I just want to send those of you who don’t already know Posh Totty over to her blog to read the most moving post you’re likely to see for a while – beware it’ll be a Kleenex moment! The post is here and recounts the recent experiences of Posh and her Little Man as he goes through his third open heart surgery procedure.

That is all – nothing more today!

Saturday 11 December 2010

Soon be Christmas…

(If you read me through a reader I have made some changes – you’re just getting a snippet now and will see more by clicking on the post title!!)

…yes, I know it happens on the same date each year but Christmas never fails to creep up and surprise me! I still have to buy something for John – what do you by the man who has everything and wants for nothing? (I know you’re reading this!!) Anyhow – I still have two weeks right? Yeah, right – make that a few days!

We’ll be putting our decorations up this weekend. It will be the first time for a number of over 20 years that it will be done without the help of either son, but we are facing a new stage in our life now as Son 2 moves out to share with friends this weekend. Within the space of a year we will become true emptynesters – to be honest I always thought that the boys would be with us for ever with the current financial climate but I have been proved wrong. I’m pleased that they have both grown up to be independent young men, able to make their way in the world.

Moving on before I appear maudlin (‘cos I’m not – I’m really pleased for him, of course I’ll miss him but I will get used to it!), I’ve written before about my obsession with how people find their way to the Ramblings. I find it absolutely fascinating reading the searches that lead people to me but the top line of the picture below just absolute amazed me – I’ve tried it and have absolutely no idea how the search term bought them to me!!


It’s not come out very clear but the words are ‘fer a repasser prix canadien’ which I think translates to roughly ‘prices of irons in Canada’ – I can't remember ever using the phrase! In fact I know I haven't – isn’t t’internet wonderful! So, if you’ve arrived on this post and have no idea how you got here – welcome, nice to have you visit and please leave me a comment just for the hell of it!!

Better get a wriggle on now – lots to do to makes sure help Son 2 with his move!

Saturday 4 December 2010

Excuses, excuses…

I know – I left you all tantalised at the thought of the lovely new sewing machine and then just left you hanging in limbo!

I’ll tell you why. I got the lurgy last weekend. I was full of good intentions, I’d take some pics as I unwrapped it. I’d take some picks as I was setting it up. And I would take some pics of the finished results. I failed. Miserably. And indeed I was miserable Sad smile.

It started with a cough, just a tickle, on Friday evening – just as I got home from work. It became a very irritating tickle through the evening and by Saturday morning had become a 40+ smokers cough with a sore throat in to the bargain. But I carried on. Up early, I went to Sainsburys so that I could have the day free to sew and fiddle. When I got back I set the machine up – not inclined to take pics – cut some fabric and rubbed my hands in glee at the thought of a sewing day. But then I needed a sleep – poor me.

When I woke up the inclination to sew was gone, I was feeling shivery, then warm so laid on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon. And then we had a power cut. No flicker, no dimming lights just a full blown instant cut into darkness – I had tea lights lit so we had something to guide us towards the torch under the kitchen sink. Son2 went into hyper excited mode – hard to believe a 20 year old can get so excited over something like that! He was most worried about going out for the evening with his friends for a curry – fortunately the restaurant was open! The power was off for two hours which seemed like forever – an hour and a half in I had the bright idea of playing I-tunes to give us some entertainment!

Sunday was another bleurgh day, it was local derby day for football with Ipswich playing away at Norwich, our sworn enemy. The match was live on TV so I pootled around in the morning and settled down to watch the match at lunchtime, an early goal set the scene for the match and I slept through most of it. We lost 4-1. I missed nothing and still felt awful.

Got up for work on Monday, still coughing but OK until I suddenly felt a rush of ice through my body quickly followed by heat – I threw myself back into bed where I stayed for most of the day. And then the snow came. And on Tuesday more snow came. I was glad to be indoors.

I soldiered back to work on Wednesday, coughing and sliding as I went – man it was cold out there, but dry. Grey skies prevailed most of the day and the wind whipped up with such ferocity it was cutting right through us.

More snow fell on Wednesday night and all day Thursday which has made conditions treacherous – Son1 had to pick up FDIL from Cambridge in the afternoon which worried me, bizarrely once he left Ipswich there was hardly any snow at all!

So we reach Friday. I had a sew day! On a snow day! I finally got around to using the machine to some effect – it is an absolute gem – well worth the extortionate sum that I paid for it. I think we will have many happy hours together – providing I can get the darn tension right. I don’t know what it is with me and tension but I always seem to have a problem, no matter what machine I use!

So without further ado, here is the reveal you’ve all been so eagerly waiting for – I do hope you’re not disappointed!


What a beautiful carry case! Which reveals a …



…very beautiful sewing machine!



Sadly I don’t have magnificent views to share with you from my window so you’ll have to make do with this!


These beautiful icicles are on my neighbours workshop – brrrr