Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Holidaying alone TWO

It's 2.30 in the morning here.  And it's raining.  A lot.  Not a problem in itself, but ... Outside my bedroom is a verandah.  Very nice for sitting on to catch the evening sun.  Right now, when I should be sleeping, it's the ideal place for the rain dripping off the roof of said verandah to drop down and bounce off the chair that I sit in when the sun is shining. 

Ordinarily this would not be a problem.  I would wake my husband, and he would go out onto the verandah and move the chair.  And I would curl up on this, the most comfortable bed we have ever owned, and go back to sleep.  However, this time, on this solitary holiday, I have two choices - lie here and fume as the drip drops its regular 'tune' (two drops actually, not in time and not at the same tone because they are clearly dropping on different parts of the chair - one on metal, one on cloth, both very loud.  See how you can tell that I've been lying here for some time already?) OR get up, go out onto the verandah, get wet and move the chair. 

I got up, went out, got wet.  Success.  But I'm wide awake and writing this.  We've had an early morning (for John)-middle of the night (for me) FaceTime conversation, and here I am.  

With a moth.  

Ordinarily .....  Sigh 

Monday, 25 January 2016

Holidaying alone

Husband too busy to leave home - he has tractors to mend and a stable to build.  Wife in need of a complete break. They have a house in Florida. Sorted.  Sunshine here I come.

The reality is of course that it's actually quite lonely on my own.  I decided (in my wisdom - ha!) that in the first week I would not rent a car; that I'd stay local, bed into the house, sort stuff out, enjoy my solitude. (I need to come clean here and say that 'solitude' = 'friends a few houses down the road, who will help me with anything, at the drop of a hat".). 

The reality is that it's been really really cold; okay not as cold in the northern states (my original plan had been to be in New York over the past weekend - well I wouldn't have got there, so I wouldn't have been able to play in 2 feet of snow in Central Park!!). 
My daughter-in-law's street BEFORE most of the snow fell.

The reality is that it's not that bad (yay FaceTime - husband and I speak every day when we are apart. Without FaceTime/Skype this would be VERY expensive over six weeks!!) and I have been busy.
I've been walking in the (freezing cold) sunshine.  See that blue blue sky. Cold! 

I've been trying out different flours (US flour is different from UK flour. Why IS that?

So I've been baking.  The chocolate coating (Sainsbury's dark chocolate melted in a pan with a few slurps of milk - so, so yummy) is much better than the cake - and a necessary addition for another reason. When I took the cake out of the tin (sounds so simple doesn't it?) it did come out, but not in a good way.  I think there were about six pieces.  Well I can do jigsaw puzzles, so I fitted them together as best I could.  Not pretty, hence the chocolate.  The cake tastes ..... well, suffice to say, I've had the odd slice and eaten just the top with the chocolate and thrown the cake away.  I will continue my search for a decent flour. 

So ... jigsaw puzzles. I brought one with me.  I'm on my own, I thought. I can use the dining table, I thought. There'll be plenty of room.  There is, but each time I sit down to eat, I inevitably knock some pieces to the floor.  It's a stone-tiled floor (it's Florida; it's supposed to be hot!), so the pieces that fall can take on a life of their own and slide all over the place, and the sofas are heavy.  So I've packed it away until I can go and buy a large piece of wood.  (It's a lovely jigsaw picture, with 2000 pieces.  I have five and a half weeks - but once I get a car, I'll be gadding about all over the place.  Will I finish it?)

I've been reading (what are the chances?) and admiring the bookcase that John built before Christmas.  I still need to get a few more books. 

I've been not sleeping. Some attempts at curing insomnia. A 2am thing.  

I've been taking photos. My lovely brother ( gave me a challenge - a photo a day.  His intention was that I familiarise myself with my 'new' camera while I'm here on my own with plenty of time on my hands.  I forgot my camera.  He's exasperated (it's fun!). But I am doing the challenge with my iPhone.  This is my favourite one so far.

I'll keep trying.  


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Insomnia - again

Maybe wide awake in the middle of the night is not the best time to be blogging.  Well, wide awake is good; middle of the night is not so good.  Blame international travel - eight hours flying, five hours time difference.  My body clock is wondering why I haven't had breakfast yet.  The actual clock says, "Put the light out.  Go to sleep.  It's the middle of the night."  Shouts it actually. 
Why is it that, in the middle of the night, any thought or activity that might reasonably and satisfyingly fill up a break in the DAY, becomes totally unsatisfactory and well nigh impossible in the middle of the NIGHT?
First port of call: book. I'm reading a perfectly fine attention-grabbing book (Green Darkness by Anya Seton.  A ghost/reincarnation easy read, chosen for the afore-mentioned journey. And it helped then.  Now?  Really don't care about the black-robed priest and the innocent(-ish!) maiden.  This novel, by the way, is based on factual evidence in a place where I used to work.  Ightham Mote in Kent.  During renovations there, they found a bricked up space in a wall.  When they took the bricks away they found, in the narrowest of spaces, an upright skeleton of a young woman.  I was the Education Officer there for a year, way back when.  Wandering around there on a winter's day, when no-one else was around, was definitely spooky).  
Next: put the kettle on for a hot drink and a biscuit.  However, that would involve leaving the comfort of my bed and going downstairs.  Seems like too much trouble really.  It reminds me of when my younger son was teaching.  He asked a boy why he had shouted out an answer instead of first putting up his hand and waiting.  His reply? "S'effort, innit sir?!"  Quite.
Next: household chores. Well, that isn't happening, so let's skip over that. 
Next: some sewing or knitting or painting or crocheting. All very enticing. All theoretically possible, except that I haven't unpacked yet, so it would involve unpacking. Unpacking is one of my least favourite activities. Unpacking involves lifting and sorting and deciding. When I arrived, I decided to leave the unpacking until the morning. So why would I now get up in the middle of the night to do it. (Have you ever thought of the effort it takes - still talking about unpacking - to shop?  The movements involved?  You take the items off the shelves (1) and put them in the trolley (2). You take them out of the trolley (3) and put them on that moving thing (4) that definitely goes faster when the cashier has scanned each item, so at the other end a mound of shopping is threatening to engulf you despite your frantic efforts to keep up.  You put the items in bags (5). You put the bags back in the trolley (cart) (6). You take the bags out of the trolley (7). You put the bags into the boot (trunk) (8). You drive home and take the bags out of the car (9). You take the bags into the kitchen or wherever you store your food (10). You take the items out of the bags (11). You put them into cupboards/fridge/freezer (12). By then you've lost the will to eat. (Well, actually that's not true - if only it were!)   So unpacking is not happening in the middle of the night. 
Next: go outside. Definitely not happening - it's dark and I am afraid of the dark. Not happening.
Next:  I shan't go on, because I'm sure anyone who started reading this is by now fast asleep and snoring, whatever time of day or night it is. 
I'm still awake. Aaaaaagh! 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Book lost

Remember I was making a book list?  My top twenty books?  And I lost the list?  Well, I've been thinking about it again.  (I think about books a lot. I'm surrounded by them, so there's no escape even if I wanted to escape. There are bookcases in every room except the bathrooms, but I don't want to escape to a bathroom.)
So anyway, the list. I think I'm up to number 17. I think. And it's this:

All the Light We Cannot See. All I can say is that it made me cry.  Please read it.  

Monday, 11 January 2016

Change - if only!

I'm very dissatisfied with the format of this blog.  I want to prettify it, personalise it, improve it (okay, I want to upstage my brother and his ). 

The problem is that I cannot remember my login details.  At all.  I have no idea what my name is.  (Don't tell my GP!  He'd have me incarcerated in a second.)  As for a password - well, it could be anything.  I didn't used to have a problem.  I used the same password for everything.  Then my brother ( yes him) told me that this was incredibly irresponsible of me because if someone hacked one account, they'd be able to hack them all.  

So I started using different passwords.  I'm sure that I was very inventive (while assuring myself that I'd remember these combinations of words/numbers/lower case/higher case/bla bla bla).  Of course I don't know this for certain - because I can't remember them. 

All this means that I daren't log out of any of my (absolutely essential) social media sites: Facebook (though I keep threatening myself that I'm going to stop); Pinterest (though I keep threatening myself that I'm going to stop); Twitter (though I kee........ You get the idea).  It also means that I can't comment on anybody else's blog, because I don't know my name. Possibly this is a good thing, but I suspect not.  I'd like to comment. I know how much I enjoy the comments that my blog posts get (thank you), and I'd like to reciprocate. 

However, I CAN remember the very first password I used - for a long long long ago and now obsolete email address.  It was a German word.  Maybe that's the answer.  

Saturday, 9 January 2016


I've been distracted.....

By our little red house in Florida

By all things Disney

By New York

By Christmas

And most of all by a wedding 😃😃😃
My wonderful baby son and my equally wonderful, beautiful daughter-in-law.  On a bright sunny warm day in December. In New York. In Central Park.  What a joy.  

So I'm sure I shall be forgiven for not writing in my blog for many weeks.