Sunday, May 28, 2023

Spiders are people too

I have been remiss about blogging and blog visiting these last few days. Partly busyness, partly lying in the sun reading. We don't get that much sun so we have to make the most of it, that's my excuse. Hence some serious cobwebs, and much cleaning indoors required.

I say that as if I would normally remove the cobwebs while I don't. Spiders are people too. It's only when there is a danger of people getting their hair trapped in them that I get out my feather duster.

Trying hard to think what I've been doing when not lying in the sun. Hm. Ah yes, Thursday early morning ice cream in Verdi's with old school friend Vivien during which we discussed, amongst other things, the reunion of the week before. Vivien knows a lot about lots of people. I know nothing about anybody. I put this down to my reluctance to ask questions and my maybe obvious boredom when people start going on too long. Oh and the fact that I may hear things but it doesn't mean I listen or retain.

Friday, Zac's in the morning as usual, home to lie in the sun. And have a swim in the pool.

Surprisingly pleasant once I got used to it.

Saturday morning another attempt at a clothes sale at Zac's. A few more people than previously but still not really worth the effort. We gave away more clothes than we sold, and at least one item (denim dungarees) was stolen. The joy the children of one of our regular families showed when getting new clothes made our morning, as did the man who was passing and who didn't want to buy anything but gave us his loose change.

We were just about to close the doors at 1.00 pm when a family of grandmother, two daughters, and two grandchildren, arrived and asked if they could just have a quick look. Thirty minutes later after they'd gone through all the bags we'd already packed up as well as all the stuff still out, they haggled over being charged £17 for two huge bags of clothes (50p an item). They accepted an offer of £15. They were very nice though.

Found out during the morning that two of our regulars were in hospital. One had had a fit and collapsed on the street and cracked his head open; the other had her jaw broken when she was beaten up.

Came home tired and ready to be looked after. We were having a family barbecue and when talking about it I'd rebelled. Husband always grumbles at my poor communication - he likes to know who's coming when and what's happening etc while I shrug and say, "Oh you know, whenever." He also grumbles that I buy too much food. So last week I said, "Right, it's down to you. You can plan the barbecue, arrange the times, make sure people know, and buy all the food. I'm doing nothing."

When I got home from Zac's the first thing he said was, "I forgot to get coleslaw and stuff. Can you pop to the shop?"

Apart from that though he did a fine job, ably assisted by Elder Son, who brought his smoker and prepared lots of meat and a Moroccan smoked cauliflower.
And Daughter made some lovely pizza rolls.
A jolly afternoon was had by all and we're doing it again on Monday. Today I have GrandDaughter1 for our special time (a trip to Costa and McDonalds followed by teen-appropriate tv - which I really enjoy.) The weather is gorgeous though so I shall insist we spend some time outside.

Tuesday evening I am leading Zac's so have to find time somewhere to prepare . . .

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A meander around the garden and a nasty shock

The first bloom on one of my new climbing roses.

Its buds have a very pinky tip.

I love this old established rose. It might have been here longer than we have. I'm sure Husband will correct me if I'm wrong.

You may recall that last year I took it upon myself to clear the shady bed and start planting. On my wander around the garden today I discovered that my forsythia, which had been flourishing, had disappeared. I also noticed heavy tread marks across the bed. 

I stomped inside. "You've chopped down my forsythia!"
"I didn't know you had one. And I didn't chop it down; I dug it up."

Mutter, mutter. 

 * * * * *

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin


A book about a bookseller, people who love books, people who love reading. Beautiful.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Blondies revisited


As long as no-one breaks a tooth biting into it they'll be fine!


It was a combination of having the wrong size tin and having to leave it in the oven to go to the garage.

If I scrape/hack the black bits off and turn it upside down (Husband's suggestion) I'm sure everyone will enjoy these rhubarb and white chocolate blondies.

* * * * *

I've had two lovely walks with Daughter, Louie and Toby over these last two days. I must have a thousand photos of Three Cliffs but it's so beautiful.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

When computers fail

There is some work going on in Mumbles to improve the foreshore. I noticed there were diggers working on the beach yesterday when I was down there. 

By the time Elder Son went down later the tide was in and this is what he saw.

Apparently the computer on board had stopped working and the digger got stuck in the mud.

* * * * * 

Not as photogenically or dramatically exciting but much excitement for us today on finding we have five babies in the goldfish pond!

To read before I die

Daughter-in-law's mum is going to be in hospital for a while so, as Daughter-in-law is going to visit her this coming week, I thought I'd see if I had any books she might like to read to while away the time.

I discovered two things.

The first is that I have a seriously huge number of unread books. I've bought them mostly in charity shops thinking, "This looks good," and then adding it to the shelf or rather shelves that constitute my To Be Read list.

I should probably make a start on reading them otherwise I won't get them all read before I die. Then again I do love going to the library. Books on my own shelf never excite me as much as unfamiliar books on a library shelf.

Maybe I should resolve to read one from my shelf for each library book I read. That would be a good idea.

The second thing is today's print size and style compared to that of books from twenty or more years ago.

On the left, The Cavalier Case, a Jemima Shore mystery, by Antonia Fraser, published in 1995.
On the right, The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor, published in 2021.

In the library I pick up a book I like the sound of. I glance inside, exclaim in horror, "Urgh, the print's too small," and rapidly return it to the shelf.

Is it just that I'm older and need glasses? Or have I got used to the what seems to be the modern style?

The third thing - yes, I know I said two but I thought of something else - browsing on my bookshelves I found lots of books I've read before but having rediscovered would like to read again. As I usually have very little recollection of what happened in it, it's just like reading a new book. 

A strange coincidence

Christine, the lady I was sitting next to at the tea party, had been asked by her other neighbour where she was living. Christine mentioned a road and described its location.

I chipped in to say, "We looked at a house there when we moved here. Each room had been decorated with a theme so there was a Blue Room, a Red Room, and so on. The trouble was the owner told us he had nursed his wife to death in the house. I mean, can you imagine anyone buying the house after being told that?"

Christine said, "Our house was decorated like that and the wife had died. He was a dentist."

Now I know what you're thinking: she must have bought the house Liz wouldn't have bought. That would have been the normal thing to think - but it didn't occur to me until this morning when I was telling Husband, who remembered the man we saw had also been a dentist.

"It must have been the same one!"

It was over thirty years ago and what were the chances of us both having been buying a house at that time? I say that in my dopey defence. 

* * * * *

It's another beautiful day here in Mumbles. Italy, on the other hand, is very wet. It's not often it's that way around so I had to mention it.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Tea for two

A delicious afternoon tea in good company this afternoon. A group of us who are all seventy in this academic year met at Bistrot Pierre in Mumbles.

The only one I knew/remembered was my friend, Vivien, and I was very glad she was there because only she and I ate everything. Everyone else was diabetic, pre-diabetic, had gallstones or heart problems. We two tucked in and demolished the lot.

A tea tray for two people. From the bottom: savoury croissants and sandwiches, jam and cream scones, mini millionaire's tart, eton mess and victoria sponge.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Four bare-chested men

Four young men joined the queue for food today. They didn't look like our usual guests. Healthy, fit - they were bare-chested and tanned - I would guess they were working on a building site nearby.

I am inclined to the view that anyone who wants food can get it from us but these four pushed it to the limit. Maybe we should have asked them to come back at the end and if there was food left they could have some. But then we'd be guilty of judging by appearance, and assuming that because they were in work (probably) they wouldn't need free food. 

Then again should someone who most probably could pay for it take food that is intended for those who can't? We do usually have some food left at the end. Some days we have loads. Yesterday and today we completely ran out. (Ninety-one and eight-five meals served.)

Our usual 'bouncer' and Boss Man wasn't in today. He can make the decision next week. 

We're very strict about not handing out two portions at once. We almost demand a 'doctor's note' if they claim it's for their friend who's sick. That said, we usually say, "Oh just this once then."

It's a dilemma.

Afterwards I went to Tesco's and was sitting outside waiting for Husband to pick me up, doing a bit of people watching. A lot of older ladies I noticed were smartly dressed. Smart casual, neat and nicely co-ordinated. Me, I'm more of scruffy casual. I do brush up okay but only if I make the effort because I'm going out for tea or lunch or want to look like a lady. Not when I'm going shopping.

Men, on the other hand, were almost all scruffy casual.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Out for lunch

Brunch at the Observatory. It's a comparatively recent build but no longer an observatory. Instead it's chic apartments and a cool café, with all sorts of interesting decor and a lovely view.

I chose poached eggs with New York style cavalo nero, pine nuts, chilis, pomegranate, sourdough toast and pretty flowers. I think the chef got a bit carried away with green stuff but it was very tasty. Lots of different flavours
I was happily eating away when a passing waiter stopped and said, "Would you like a napkin?"

I didn't think I was making that much mess! Anyway he brought a pile over. 

It was only brunch so we felt justified in having cake as well. (Tea bag in a cup. Lose marks for that.) And the cake was very light and moist.

I only took one photo of the birthday girl and she had her eyes closed in it but here's an example of the quirky décor. And, yes, we were sitting in aeroplane seats.

So tempted to add an apostrophe.

Back to normal now - until Saturday when I'm going out for afternoon tea. An old girls' reunion. About eight of us who all attended Glanmor Grammar School in the sixties, and who celebrate our seventieth birthdays this academic year.

Hope I live that long*

Messaged the surgery again at 7 am. Doctor phoned at 8.30, I had an appointment to see her at 9.30. 

I have a bit of thrush at the back of my mouth but everything else seems okay. She gave me some drops and is sending me for a blood test to rule out underlying conditions. (Terrifying phrase.)

Now I find the problem arises. Next available blood test appointment isn't for two weeks. Apparently there is a national shortage of blood test tubes.

I've made an appointment but, hopefully, I will be better by then anyway.

I went to Zac's straight from the doctor's to oversee setting-up for the lunchtime food service. Our volunteers today are less experienced and I wanted to make sure everything was good to go. Leaving Zac's I saw a man wave. He was walking towards me along the road opposite. I peered at him; he didn't look familiar. But perhaps I should wave back anyway. 

Then I realised he was shaking his inhaler.

In other news, the business bins at the end of Zac's road have special eco- friendly lids. I haven't seen this anywhere else but what a lovely idea.

Note the windows offering Executive Services above Istanbul. That's the brothel we visited regularly until told to stop by the owners.

Just re-read that and realised I should explain. My friend Linda and I wanted to get to know the girls and offer them any help and friendship we could.

Off to lunch now with Daughter and Daughter-in-law to belatedly celebrate D-i-L's 40th birthday.

* I'm sure that emergency patients can get blood tests straightaway.