30 November 2020

Early Christmas


It’s only the last day of November and we have already received our first Christmas card!  And Lady M has started prepping for mince pies.  Well, I suppose we are guilty of starting Christmas early by putting out some white LED sparkling lights in the garden.  I call them my winter lights rather than Christmas lights, just something to brighten up the garden on those dark, winter evenings.


Sorry about the quality of the photo - it's hard to capture lights in the dark

Our Christmas will definitely be quiet but then it normally is these days.  I doubt we shall buy a big tree this year but we have already stocked the drinks cupboard, the ham and the turkey are in the freezer and the Brussels sprouts are growing nicely in the garden.  Tomorrow is the first of December so I shall open my new ‘Moroccan Spice’ reed diffuser to create an aroma of cinnamon and warm spices in the hallway.  We won’t be having parties and celebrations but we will have the spirit and essence of Christmas.


Now, I suppose I’d better start writing some cards.


18 November 2020



Robert the Bruce with his knight Sir James Douglas

Apparently sales of chess sets have soared since the Queen’s Gambit series was released recently on Netflix.  I certainly enjoyed the series although I would never have believed that I could be entertained by watching other people playing chess.

It prompted Paul and me to dig out our old chess set from the attic.  We found the chess pieces but couldn’t find the board until we remembered that it had been left behind in France.  So we bought a new board and have played a couple of games this week.   Our set is quite elaborate and based on the Battle of Bannockburn 23rd-24th June 1314, Scots versus English, and each key piece is based on a real historical figure.  The Scottish king is Robert the Bruce with Elizabeth de Burgh as his queen. The English king is Edward II with Isabella of France as his queen.  The rooks (or castles) on both sides are based on the tower of Old Stirling Castle that overlooked the battle.

I am very much an inexperienced player so it’s not surprising that Paul has beaten me twice.  I almost took the first game but apparently it was an illegal move by his king.  Yesterday he quickly attacked and put my king into checkmate before I even knew what was happening.

Robert the Bruce (King of Scots 1247-1329) with William Lamberton (Bishop of St Andrews)


It will take me some time before I get to beat him at chess.  I guess it’s his revenge for always losing to me at ping pong.  Any other chess players out there?



15 November 2020

Some of us are more useful than others


Some of us are putting lockdown to good use.

Paul has been busy painting the woodwork surrounding the front door with white gloss paint.  The old paintwork was very chipped and damaged; I think the previous occupants used to have zimmer frame races up and down the hallway.  It looks very good now. I’m rather fond of the solid oak front door so we have no plans to replace it, although the outer porch door is going to be replaced in the near future.

While Paul has been busy painting it’s been my job to entertain the dog…


Actually I am suffering a little bit at the moment.  This morning I awoke with that familiar tickling sensation in my sinuses and very soon I was reaching for the paper tissues and allergy spray to try and stop my streaming nose.  I think I am allergic to animal hair so I should probably stop cuddling Rick.  Well that’s not going to happen so I shall continue taking the Loratidine.  I also have a sensitivity to wheat although I just can’t resist eating the lovely bread that Paul makes.  I’m fine if I eat small amounts but earlier this week I got a bit carried away with some freshly baked ciabatta.  I really made a pig of myself and I have been suffering ever since.


Tomato and lentil soup for lunch today, I might just allow myself to have the tiniest piece of bread with it.



7 November 2020

November Saturday


the mist just starting to lift to reveal blue sky

It was cold and foggy when I took Rick out for his early morning walk, it was quite spooky trying to see our way in the misty gloom.  The hedgerows looked so pretty decorated with thin spider webs bejewelled with drops of dew.   It certainly felt very autumn like.

It’s Saturday so Paul is cooking tonight.  Scampi and chips are on the menu.  We shall be decadent and eat them in front of the television with a good bottle of wine.  We are watching The  Queen’s Gambit, a drama about a young girl with an astonishing talent for playing chess. It’s an unusual but engaging series.  I might have to go and dig out our chess set from the attic.  I can play at a very basic level but I’ve never studied any strategy or particular opening moves.

Eating on the sofa while watching television is a rare treat.  Only ever on a Saturday evening and when it’s pizza or scampi. Otherwise we always sit up at the table.


Paul waiting for his supper last night (tagine).  He is tossing a tennis ball while he waits.


3 November 2020



After some early rain this morning the skies cleared so I ventured outside and pottered around the garden for a while.  Rick said he would accompany me as long as I agreed to throw his tennis ball umpteen times.  Tonight we are forecast frost so I decided to cut the few remaining rosebuds and a few sprigs of honeysuckle to bring indoors.  They make a rather straggly but pretty display. 

The strawberry bed is still producing fruit but none of it is ripening at this time of year, except for one single strawberry.  Paul and I shall fight over it later.

Paul had a special delivery earlier, two cubic metres of organic compost.  I have never before seen anyone get so excited by a heap of muck.  Unloading it from the lorry was effortless, transferring it by wheelbarrow to the vegetable garden will not be quite so easy.  






Two more days and we are going into lockdown once more.  No dancing for me this week.