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Super things in September

Sorry I couldn’t resist a little alliteration. This approximately 17 days late. What can I say – I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire.

The Rainbow that appeared in the sky one evening as I was heading home.

Mellow morning light the soft golden light you get at this time of year made walking to the station a little pleasanter.

K’s early birthday dinner there was ice cream and cake of course…

Curry at the star with my mother’s cousin. The meal was delightful and as always the staff treated us like Royalty.

Another K’s hen night. I had a particularly fine Gin cocktail at Browns and have plans to return and drink my way through all the Gin Cocktails on the menu.

Manifold kindnesses of my friends when I wobbled.

Morning in bed reading – a rare but special treat.

Central heating – every year when it switches itself back on I wonder why people talk about the good old days. I love knowing that I can get up in a warm house and return home to a cosy house after work. The new timer is simply superb.

Coffee/ dinner with the girls.

I had a long weekend in Riga. I’m not sure what I expected but Riga exceeded my expectations. The old town reminded me of Tallinn it’s medieval, full of steeples and turrets with foot crippling cobbles. It also had a faintly Ruritanian air. I could imagine all those aristocratic girlsown heroines living there and averting revolutions and coups with only their beloved horse and their own pluck to assist them.

Also what’s not to like about a city whose symbol is a cat pooing? There is of course a story behind that.

The cathedral is simply stunning.  

There was delicious cake.

The local delicacy is potato pancakes.

And two G&T’s were less than €5.

Our hotel had interesting decor but it was clean, comfortable and remarkably inexpensive for the number of stars it had.

We rode a Soviet era train 20km to the seaside. Marjori is a beach resort on the Baltic once a haunt of the Tsars and later like Tallinn it was a favoured USSR holiday spot.

The Baltic Beach Hotel where I had a delicious iced coffee has been refurbished but was clearly formerly the Intourist hotel.

We walked by the Baltic Sea on a bright crisp afternoon. It was a little chilly but the sky was blue and the sun shone.

New lights on timers this has been a revelation to me. I’ve set the timers to  come on as it gets dark partly as a security measure but also so I don’t come home to a dark empty house. Technology is a good thing. As one of my oldest friends says “I like living in the future.”


Google doodle for whatever reason this made me smile.

My free gift of a cookie from the Metro it amused me.


I finally finished little niece’s birthday cardigan. It’s too big for Teddy Edward but happily fits her.


Alostromeria in autumn colours
Holly berries supposedly if there are lots of berries we’re going to have a hard winter. Judging by the number I’ve seen it’s going to be cold but we shall see. Whatever they may prophecy these are still beautiful.

Unlooked for kindness from a neighbour.

The colleague who looked at me as I stumbled into work tired, grumpy and in pain then put a hot cup of tea and a Jaffa cake in front of me without a word.

I found the courage to do something I knew to be right even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t but it was the right thing to do.

August Gladness

I have excelled myself as it is mid October and I’ve not posted August yet. In case you were wondering I am fully intending being late to my own funeral. As late as is possible. I may have to leave final instructions to that effect.

Despite the radio silence I had a lovely August

My baby niece was a year old. How can we have known her for a full year already.

Big and little nieces had a shared birthday party I took the opportunity to catch up with my cousins and the friends I see less of now they are putting their children to bed as I finish work.

Dinner at FGT with the most amazing aubergine and mozzarella lasagne.

Family birthday tea for my nieces at my flat, unicorn biscuits and smarties piñata cake. It is probably best if we draw a discreet veil over the words I used while producing the biscuits. Luckily I was alone my mother would have slapped my hand and my former line manager would have been rattling the swear box at me.


Then there was a day trip to France with big niece. Mum, Dad, big niece and I packed ourselves into my fathers people carrier and journeyed through le tunnel sous la manche doesn’t that sound nicer than the more prosaic Channel Tunnel. Big niece loved everything about Cite Europe – I fear she will be just like Mum and me and more of a Lily Page than a Katy Carr. Sephora entranced her and the chocolate aisle in Carrefour was small girl heaven.

On the way I introduced big niece to the Famous Five audio books and shared her delight in this new discovery. Grandad enjoyed them too although he pretended not to.

The trip to Sephora resulted in new mascara that doesn’t itch or make my eyes red – result.

I also purchased some delicious French goodies. I may have lapsed in the chocolate aisle because it would be wrong to ignore all that Cote D’Or.

Cut and colour.

There was a gossipy coffee and dinner with the girls.

A surprisingly good dinner at my godparents.

Girls lunch with my sister in Blackheath.

K’s birthday celebrations.

Delightful snail mail from A.

Meeting another A for lunch

A colleague (A the 3rd’s) birthday celebrations.

Avene Micellar Water another French purchase and my skin loves it.

Work Summer picnic in St James’ Park with Prosecco.

Cote D’Or Lemon Fondant chocolate as purchased in Carrefour I can believe I’d missed out on it for so long. 

The Famous Five DVDs Mum bought these for big niece and they are the old ones I remember from my childhood. My brother, sister and I watched our way through them all. Big niece likes them too.

Getting my preferred asthma drug back as a named patient the one the NHS switched me to because it is more cost effective wasn’t working well for me.

L’s birthday dinner at Annie’s.

My first ever Espresso Martini it won’t be the last.

Sunny day in Brighton with H and Gin cocktails.

Millie (the cat’s) cativersary. Yes I really do have friends who will throw a party for their cat. I took the cat a gift so I can’t talk. The blanket you can see in the photo was crocheted by my Mum and I presented it to the guest of honour.


New USB sockets – it may sound a small thing but they make charging the many gadgets I seem to own a doddle. They are revolutionising my life.

I have a new central heating controller/ timer – it has lots of bells and whistles and it should give me a warmer better winter.

I had a week off and in the middle of it my Dad offered to buy me lunch at Harvester – we do like to live it up. The waitress turned out to be someone I was at primary school with so we had a good chat.

I swam 40 lengths for first time since surgery I was exhausted but very proud of myself.

Mum and I had an exhibition day so we went to see Fashion on the Ration at the Imperial War Museum and Small Stories at the Museum of Childhood.

Finishing my quilted cushion and being able to use the sewing machine again.


A very successful shopping trip where we acquired all the Famous Five books for big niece for very little. I also acquired several small gifts for people and made a number of purchases I didn’t need in IKEA.
My New IKEA light – I didn’t need this but I love it. It has such a lovely glow.

Dinner at H’s.

Another Sunday evening of family drinkies which became prolonged as no one had to work the next day.

There was an insane family breakfast on Bank Holiday Monday where my Mum fed us all a vast fry up to soak up the alcohol that was accidentally consumed the previous night.

Barbecue at K’s on possibly the wettest day in August. We ate our barbecue inside and gossiped.

Dahlias in the park.


Unexpected kindness

I was walking home from the station this evening and I was feeling quite low. The foot I had surgery on in January has flared a little. I was in considerable pain and I was limping badly.

That was not the main reason I was feeling awful though. A fellow commuter had been outrageously inconsiderate and caused me more pain. I hadn’t called them on it because I didn’t have the energy and in any case however rude it is to display bad manners it is far ruder to comment on them (TM my paternal Grandmother). Then the commuter was excessively rude to me. It was probably nothing to do with me. She’d probably had a long week and a bad day which she took out on me. It was still hideous and could easily have wrecked my evening.

However as I dragged myself up the hill almost in tears, a car pulled up beside me and a smiling man of about my own age said “You live in [my street] don’t you?” I agreed I did and although shamefully I did not recognise him I did recognise the two toddlers in the car – I’ve seen them out with their Mum many times. It was one of my neighbours I’ve never actually spoken to him before. He then said “I’ve seen you dealing with that foot all year it looks very sore today would you like a lift.”

I wasn’t actually going straight home so I declined with a smile and polite explanation. If I’m honest despite the small children if I had been going straight home I still think I’d have declined I don’t think I know him well enough to get in his car but that act of kindness made my day and salvaged my evening.

This nice man will never know just how important that kind gesture was at that moment. My foot is still sore and I’m still limping but I completed my errand and walked home smiling. It was a reminder at just the right time that there are far more nice people than unpleasant ones in this world. 

Tomorrow I’m going to find out their names.

Happy things in July

I’m very tardy posting this – let us hope I do better with August’s blog. However the delay is not because July was an unhappy month far from it. It was a month of fun, friendship and plenty of excellent fiction.

There was a Spectacular Thunderstorm I wish there was some way I could capture the amazing dark sky rent by lightening but either my camera isn’t up to it or the photographer is lousy.

Surprise cuddles from baby niece

Dinner at the Star with my parents.

Reading in St James Park and managing to be alone and peaceful among everyone else who’d gone to enjoy the sunshine. 

Pizza with the girls.

D came to stay

A also came to stay

Wonderful surprise gift from K when I was feeling very sad and low because my season ticket was stolen from my handbag. She kindly sent me a new Radley ticket holder which amazingly clips into my bag which will make it so much harder for future pickpockets to extract it. It’s also very pretty.

Visiting R, M and J and just enjoying relaxing in the sun in their garden.

Day out in Canterbury with A and a happy browse in C&H fabrics.

A truly delicious dinner at the Marine Hotel and a wander on Tankerton beach afterwards. I love the colours of the beach huts and love the idea of having my own.


This beachfront house looks like somewhere Poirot would choose to holiday. There’s not a curve anywhere. 
Posh breakfast at Delaunceys with my lovely friends – the pancakes were out of this world.

Dinner in L’Ulvio with the usual suspects

The first Pimms of the year

Amazing Peonies

Managing to wear my silver sandals again for the first time in over a year because the swelling in my foot is finally going down.

An evening in the garden drinking

Snuggles with baby niece

Reading with big niece

Super sky I love watching the sunset.

Baking again

Introducing baby niece to homemade ice cream. She was very keen…

Giving my flat a very through clean didn’t enjoy the process but I liked the results.


BBQ in the garden.

Sitting on the trampoline with big niece shame I can’t bounce on it yet.

My Abbey re read.

Nanna is happily settled in the new nursing home after having to move in a tremendous (and very stressful) hurry when her precious splendid home closed without warning. I am so pleased she’s coped well with the move we’d been warned it might kill her. The staff in the new home have been amazing in helping to make the emergency move as smooth as possibly.

A wonderful convivial evening at FGT – to misquote LL Montgomery there was some character assassination over the dinner table.

Rereading Antonia Fraser’s Detective novels.

Snail mail from A.

A day in Warwick with H and K catching up and the Gardens at Warwick Castle.


A fab (and very inexpensive) Balti in Warwick.

A family dinner at the Mexican.

Big niece’s afternoon in town. This involved M&M’s World – ok that part was purgatory, a ride on the top of a number 11 bus (I maintain the 11 is the best route in London) a trip to Guide HQ to buy her new Brownie uniform and lunch. 

Finally being able to commute without a stick. I really am improving.

Simple Log Cabin Cushion

I haven’t been able to quilt since last November for the simple reason that it hurt too much. The movement in my right foot that is necessary to push on the pedal to drive the machine was not to put too fine a point on it excruciating. I tried operating it with my left foot but in a nutshell it was not a successful experiment.

This is the very first time since my surgery in January that my repaired Achilles’ tendon has allowed me to use the sewing machine properly. I’m delighted and my project which has languished like this since November.

Now looks like this… 
It’s a very simple Log Cabin pattern made from a selection of pretty patterned fabrics I was given by a friend and supplemented by two others I picked up at my favourite C&H Fabrics in Canterbury. The quilting is the simplest possible a machine quilted spiral with the lines an inch apart. As I hate inserting zips it has an envelope back like this.

Of course I don’t actually have a spare cushion inner for it however for the purposes of this photo I have used one of my cushions. I’ll have to buy one   as this is intended as a gift for a friend (they were meant to get it at Christmas and then for their birthday) and then I will package it up and post it to its recipient.

I’m feeling very pleased with myself for actually completing it and now new quilting ideas are filing my brain. I have plans for some Christmas cushion covers after all Mum bought me some amazing Christmas fabrics from Jo Ann’s last year.

Joys in June

June was mostly spent in the office so this is a rather shorter post than usual. There is only so much joy that can be found in working all the hours God sends to successfully get a Bill through Commons Commitee.

TV night with mum and sister – we might get to the end of the last series of Call the Midwife before the next one starts

L’s Housewarming

The lemon curd Victoria sponge I baked – it looked good I didn’t taste it but it sold at the charity Garden party very quickly which flattered me

The arrival of my new to me audio books

Wine tasting at Vinopolis

Work drinks

The exuberant Labrador in the park

D the podiatrist sorting out my sore foot. I had been to the hospital for follow up. They cheerfully announced what needed to be done then said the NHS wasn’t allowed to do it. I made an appointment with D who promptly sorted it out for me.

On the advice of the podiatrist I’ve been taking short evening walks to help strengthen the ankle I had surgery on. I’ve really enjoyed rediscovering old haunts and the familiar beauty of my town which all too often I take for granted bit I’ve been wandering around Gravel Pit Lane, The Long Pond and the Winter Gardens and remembered how beautiful it is here. It’s very easy to forget I’m a mere 9 miles from Big Ben.


The beautiful but complacent tabby cat basking in the sun on the roof of his owners car

The cottage style garden in St James Park especially the Peonies and Lupins


Father’s Day BBQ with four homemade Puddings

Long, light mild evenings have filled me with happiness I was never designed for dark and cold.

Nicola Upson is a glorious find a completely new author to me.

Lunch with A

Work I’m actually helping to make history and its work I can be proud of

My baby niece not only recognised me she wanted me to play with her. Obviously I obliged.

No Offence on the TV – scary and haunted me a little but good

My sweet peas are growing

Dinner with L and K

The view across the park I always forget how high up we are but as I wander across the park I can see right across towards Westminster and the City and the London Eye, the Shard and Canary Wharf are silhouetted across the sky.

The Met Police who were very kind to me after a nasty surprise.

Brick Lane Curry with L, K and H

The three cocktails H and K poured into me to calm my nerves after the nasty surprise.

My new Hydrangea

A small gift from my Director for doing a good job


A very peaceful and productive Sunday after a long week

Watching the sunsets and a fabulous moon

The fab veggie carbonara I cooked

Mary Berry’s bean salad from her Absolute Favourites series – summer work lunches sorted.

The Clangers I thought I remembered The Clangers from the first time around but the run stopped several years before I was born so either I saw repeats or we had a video. However it is as gentle a series as I remember and very soothing when viewed while drinking tea after a very long day at the office.

PS: I know entries without photos are deadly dull but at the moment WordPress won’t let me load any. I will try to edit these later.

The things that made May happy

Somehow it’s July already and I still haven’t written about May. That’s incredibly lax of me although in my defence I’ve been very very busy in the last six weeks or so but here are the things that made May a pleasant month.

Work drinkies

9 consecutive glorious days off I usually have time off at Easter but changed job so could not. Aside from the 5 days I had off sick post orthopaedic surgery this was the first break show Christmas and I was ready for it.

Nellie’s birthday tea

Drinks at my godparents

Finding a pool where I can get in and out of the water easily – 30 painfree lengths

Spending my apology vouchers on frivolous luxuries. I don’t need posh moisturiser but I really enjoy using it and this was effectively a present.

Glorious Lush bath – thank you E

Amazing chocolates as a belated birthday present

The great declutter – reclaiming my flat and allegedly my life bit by bit. I wish I’d taken a photo of the huge pile of stuff that left the flat in one way or another.

Great Shaun Hunt Mark 2 with big niece

Lunch at the Marine Hotel and a walk on Tankerton Beach with my Mum

Shopping in Canterbury

My new chair cushion – I replaced the flat worn out faded cushion on the computer chair in my room with a tapestry one with books on it. It’s so much more comfortable and looks better too.


Discovering Victoria trains now run until after midnight. All those times I raced to catch the 19:39 when I didn’t have to.

Goslings in the park


Bunch of peonies


Clarins moisturiser. I don’t need it but oh how I love it. The texture and scent are just pure pampering. Such a shame that if I don’t have vouchers it costs about the same as a week’s worth of groceries.

House – why didn’t I ever watch this before

Some incredible kindnesses

Coffee with B and the finding of a new and better coffee location

Reading Twins at St Clare’s with big niece. I love watching her enjoy the books I lied as a child and St Clare’s is so much better than the ghastly Rainbow Magic Fairies.

First barbecue of the year

My day trip to Derbyshire and seeing some lovely people for the first time in ages. The view from the train as I went through the Hope Valley was very special too. I spent nine hours on trains for lunch with friends but it was worth it.

Lunch with H

Family dinner in town K joined us

Wandering in Covent Garden on a sunny Sunday

New bath stuff – expensive but joyous

H’s Eurovision Party

Purdah is over and I can do my job properly again

Dinner and window shopping at Westfield with L

My afternoon tea party and ace friends


My abundance of flowers especially the scented bouquet K made for me.



Day Trip to Edinburgh for work I even flew from the wonderful City airport and the view as you fly into Edinburgh airport over the Firth of Forth is just stunning.

Meeting F for lunch as part of the trip

Walk in the local park after dinner

Spring in the suburbs – cats, people’s gardens and amazing Wisteria.

First time I’ve been able to go for a walk in St James Park at lunchtime.

Amazing belated birthday parcel from L

The gilded ballerina on the Dome of the Victoria Palace – beautiful in the sunlight.


Cut and colour

Lily of the Valley

The staff restaurant at work has non Government WiFi which means we can all check our personal email on our own devices at lunchtime. A welcome leap into the 21st century.

Happy discovery that I’m walking faster

A sane conversation with my grandmother

Watching Hay Fever with Felicity Kendall. I always enjoy Noel Coward plays and she was simply superb. I really hope I age that well.


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