28 March 2020

The Virus

Everything is ok, keep washing your hands, stay at home, more cases confirmed, only key workers go to work, keep washing your hands, stay 2 metres apart, everywhere closed. There is some helpful stuff and lovely stuff on FB, but also some scaremongering and insult throwing. I'm exhausted by the constant talk of corona virus.

Daughter and I went shopping yesterday, I just needed a few provisions, and if possible the ingredients for a family Sunday roast. First stop Morrisons, queue from the door to the car park. Daughter is not the most patient, she wasn't prepared to queue. Next stop Tesco xpress, no queue but no provisions. Onwards to Sainsburys, huge queue , same with Asda. We knew Tesco would be the same so we then went to Aldi, no queue and all the provisions I wanted. They have erected protective screens around their cashiers, and not before time, the lady who served me said she has had people coughing and sneezing at her without using a handkerchief or tissue, how disgusting is that. I don't know whether people haven't been taught to use a tissue, or whether some don't think it's cool to use one.

I bet Theresa May is glad she got out when she did. I like Boris, I voted for him, he gets things done. He has tested positive, I hope he doesn't develop the virus. Anyone who says Jeremy Corbyn would have done a better job, well it's easy to say that as it will never be put to the test. Corbyn can't run his party let alone the country. 

Apart from the trip to the supermarket I have been staying indoors. I like being at home, I can always find something to do, but I do miss the day outings that my friend M and I would have been doing. I don't think the complete lock down is necessary though. All the shops and businesses closing, jobs lost, some small businesses may never recover, the government's salary compensation plans could take a long time to process. I hope crime rates don't increase. I know we have to protect the elderly (of which I am one) and vulnerable but I think it's a high price to pay. Every year thousands of people in the UK die from seasonal flu and pneumonia. Although flu might not seem like a deadly illness, on average it kills around 17,000 people in England a year. Worldwide the figures reach millions.

The pharmaceutical companies advertise "Now you don't need to take time off work, just take our cold remedy and keep going" I used to get very cross with people who came to work with a streaming cold, spreading germs everywhere.  I stayed at home whenever I had a cold. I have always been a bit of a germophobia, the only thing I like about winter is wearing gloves, primarily to keep my hands warm but also not touching surfaces with my hands. I can't help thinking common sense has been replaced by panic and hysteria.

Be safe and well ~ 
Polly x

24 March 2020

A Good Read

Exposure by Helen Dunmore

London in 1960, the Cold War is in full flow. Admiralty employee Simon Callington is not overly ambitious. He is a middle ranking official who is more focused on his family - wife Lily and their three children - and their life in Muswell Hill. One day Simon is asked to carry out a favour for an old friend Giles, who secured the job for him. The favour is to pick up a highly sensitive file from Giles’ home. Things go wrong from the moment Simon enters his friend’s home, and having collected the file Simon immediately regrets having agreed to do it. But it’s too late to back out now, and when the disappearance of the file is discovered Simon is accused of passing information to the Soviets, and arrested.

His wife, Lily, suspects that his imprisonment is part of a cover-up, and that powerful men will do anything to prevent their own downfall. She knows that she too is in danger, and must fight to protect her children, her husband, and eventually her life. But what she does not know is that Simon has hidden vital truths about his past, and may be found guilty of another crime that carries with it an even greater penalty.

This is primarily a spy story, 
very well written with an air of menace always present. But it also tells of families and friends. There is some excellent characterisation - you get to know this family and their daily lives very well, almost as if you know them personally.  

~Happy Reading ~

Polly x

22 March 2020

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day 
to all the wonderful, loving, caring Mums

My daughter and I aren't doing anything this year,
we just didn't plan anything for yesterday,
and she is working today, so it's just another day, which is fine.

My daughter made this beautiful picture for me.
I got some flowers and my favourite Lindt chocolates from my grandson.  
My Ozzie daughter phoned this morning.
I've mowed the lawn and done some gardening
after making a good start on pruning and tidying yesterday
and later we're all going to have a take-away.

Be safe and well ~ 
Polly x

16 March 2020


Just as I was about to emerge from my usual winter hibernation the government have advised that the over 70's should stay at home for at least the next few months. Yes I know, I don't look old enough to  be in that category !!!  😊 😍

I remember reading an article some time ago which said that the greatest threat to mankind wasn't terrorism, nuclear bombs or war but The Virus. I'm not sure what I think about the Corona virus, one moment I'm confident that we will be ok, the next I'm feeling anxious and scared, living in fear, hoping that our scientists and politicians will protect us. What the news doesn't tell us though is how many have survived the virus, and how many people die annually from pneumonia, influenza and chest related illnesses. I know we should take it seriously but I'm not on board with the nasty scaremongering, it causes fear and hysteria. All those able bodied people who hop into their cars and empty the supermarket shelves, whilst the elderly have to rely on public transport only to find they can't buy what they need. Thankfully a lot of kind people are offering to look after the lonely elderly in their communities. I don't know everyone in my village, but I do know that a lot of the elderly have relations living in the village or nearby, and a group of people have set up a working party offering help.

My daughter will do shopping for me. It's a good time to get into the garden and I can always find plenty to do: more quilting, dolls house projects, reading, and painting. My Ozzie daughter suggested chocolate, wine and Netflix to pass the time, she knows me well! But I don't think I will stay completely isolated all that time. I want to go into town today to buy some fleece and material.

On Monday I handed over some more quilts to the Project Linus co-ordinator.
All this material was gifted to me except a few bits I bought to make up the desired number of squares.
I'm a tad disappointed with the quality of the photos, some of the colours aren't as vibrant as they should be.

Bears and cute animals in the wood. I bought the orange material.
Dinosaurs and Dragons.
I didn't have enough dinosaur material

so I bought half a metre of dragon material.
I think they go well together, dragons and dinosaurs, both are fearsome!

Mickey Mouse

This one was a challenge

These already made squares above were in the box of materials my friend gave me when I first started making quilts. I made two squares out of the green material, made the star shapes and sewed them onto the green material, then attached the wheel type square and the cream square to make a big square. I used the pink flower material for the edging.

I don't know what happened with the lighting here

This one was also a challenge

I didn't know what to do with these bits. This is how it started above, and I had some pieces of grey material in my stash. I pieced the background materials together. The animals were already appliqued onto the small pieces of material so I attached them with a border around the edges.
I was really pleased with the way it turned out.

This hasn't photographed well, I think it looks a bit dull, the colours are very pretty.

Last year I made a Winnie the Pooh cot quilt for my friend's baby. I overestimated how much material I needed and had lots left over, enough for one and a half quilts, so I bought a little bit more and made two. They are slightly different, both have a yellow fleece backing. 

Sheriff Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
There aren't any images of Buzz though, just his name on the white squares.

Be safe and well ~ 
Polly x

15 March 2020

A Good Read

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry 
"You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair." He paused, considering what he had just said. "Yes" he repeated. "in the end, it's all a question of balance".
This magnificent heart wrenching novel revolves around four main characters. Dina Dalal, a spirited widow who struggles to maintain her independence after her husband tragically died; tailors Ishwar and his nephew Om, who have fled the caste violence of their native village; and Maneck a young man who has enjoyed an idyllic life in a Himalayan hill station helping in his father’s store, but must now move to the city college to gain qualifications in order to earn him a life of repute. They all survive sharing Dina’s cramped one bedroom flat and a balcony. Bit by bit Mistry beautifully weaves each of these lives together as they move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love.
The time is 1975. Indira Gandhi’s government declared a State of Emergency which allowed her to rule by decree, elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed. Ostensibly it was meant to curb ‘internal disturbances’ and to smooth out the threatening, revolutionary waves prevalent throughout the country. In reality the fine balance that maintained the already precarious social and cultural equilibrium was thrown into turmoil. It was 21 months of injustice, unbelievable cruelty, violence and corruption. Endless misery and worse impoverishment was heaped upon the already poorest of the poor. Human rights were suppressed, mass sterilization was enforced, the slums were destroyed, and the jails were full of Gandhi’s opponents.
How this emergency affects our group of four as well as a number of secondary characters is testament to the dignity and resilience of the human spirit. Their lives are bleak. It is a sad and at times grim story, punctuated with moments of happiness and optimism. It made me laugh and cry and it made me angry, because although it's fiction it is based on fact, fact about how those who hold the power become evil and greedy.
It’s a long read, (641 pages) but not once did it flag, it's an addictive read. I became friends with the characters, had images of them and their home in my mind, shared their joys and sorrows and desperately wanted their misfortunes to morph into a happy ending. But the ending made me cry, real sobbing crying, I didn’t see it coming and wondered why Mistry would choose such a bleak ending, but thinking about the character I think I understood why. This little family will stay with me for a very long time.
~Happy Reading ~

Polly x

9 March 2020

Harbinger of Spring

The cheerful yellow flowers of Forsythia are always a welcome sight in the garden.
Managed to mow the back lawn and dry some washing outside today before the next downpour!

Be warm and well ~ 
Polly x

6 March 2020

The Good Liar

The Good Liar stars Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen
with a very good supporting cast.

Roy Courtnay and Betty McLeish meet on a dating website. He is a career con man, a dapper charmer, and an habitual liar. Betty is worth millions and Roy has set his sights on swindling her out of every penny. He quickly settles comfortably into her suburban lifestyle and into her affections, but not her bed. It’s the perfect setup for a seasoned crook to put his plan into action, and Betty is a sitting duck, or is she?

An excellent story with a delicious ending.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Be warm and well ~ 
Polly x

4 March 2020

Winter Warmer

 Soup, always a favourite, especially on cold wet miserable days.
Aldi's delicious butternut squash and smoked bacon with
Tesco's very tasty malted grain crunchy and crusty baton.

Be warm and well ~ 
Polly x

29 February 2020

A Good Read

The Widow by Fiona Barton
When the police started asking questions Jean Taylor turned into a different woman, one who enabled her and her husband to carry on when more bad things began to happen. But that woman’s husband died last week, and Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.
There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment. Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets, there always are in a marriage. The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything.

Tense and very well written, it kept me guessing all the way through.

~Happy Reading ~

Polly x

21 February 2020

A Weekend Break

Earlier this month my friend M and I had a very nice 3 night stay at Alvaston Hall in Nantwich.

A Grade II listed Victorian property, Alvaston Hall is a lovely half-timbered country house  just five minutes from the Cheshire riverside town of Nantwich. 

The grounds are pretty, it would be lovely to sit outside in the summer.
This was our second good deal with Crusader and Warner holidays. We like these deals because coach travel is included in the price.

Our accommodation was in a chalet rather than the main hotel but that suits us, we have a chalet each with everything we need, an en-suite, a warm room and a comfy bed.

The gardens just outside our room.

With loads of amenities there is something for everyone - swimming pool, spa, sauna, jacuzzi, snooker, yoga, archery, workshops, walks, bowls, entertainment every night, and films. And of course lots of food! Most of which is very good.

We had a day trip to the lovely city of Chester.

Eastgate clock is the second most photographed clock after Big Ben

The Cathedral is impressive

A few of the many lovely carvings on the pews.

The Consistory Court dealt with a wide range of cases including heresy,
non-payment of church dues, defamation, witchcraft and clerical absenteeism.

1664 Elizabeth Sutton versus Maria Williams for saying that Sutton was "a rotten queene and her son a lousy bastard". The libel was proved and Williams had to pay costs.
1667 Mary King versus Ellana Harrison. King accused Harrison of saying that she was a "false theef and had robbed my cupboard and she might have had a bastard for her deserts". 
So not only was Harrison defaming King by saying that she was a thief but was also guilty of immoral behaviour. Harrison was found guilty and had to pay a fine and the cost of repairing the cupboard.
1670 Margey Halliwell versus Eliza Edwards for calling her a "hairy hermaphrodite". Depositions were taken and the case was dropped.
1682 Elizabeth Sutton versus Mary Seale for slander. Seale was found guilty and was forced to do penance and pay a fine.

The Cathedral is being replicated with LEGO bricks, 300,000 to date. Visitors pay £1 for a brick.

The model base measures 4m x 2m. Some ‘special features’  have been built too,
such as the Grand Organ, the Quire Stalls and the War Memorial. 

How cute is the library

Lots of lovely little alleyways

The Rows are continuous half-timbered galleries, reached by steps, which form a second row of shops above those at street level along Watergate Street, Northgate Street, Eastgate Street and Bridge Street. The Rows are unique in the world to Chester, and nobody is quite sure why they were built in this way. They have been the subject of much speculation.

Two explanations I like are: Chester has suffered from a series of fires. In 1278 the fire was so severe that almost the entire town within the walls was destroyed. It has been suggested that following this fire, the owners were ordered to make their ground floors fireproof, leading to the stone-lined undercrofts. From this, the suggestion has been made that there was "a general undertaking by the citizens of Chester to improve the commercial potential of their property by providing two-level access for customers"
The other explanation: 
In his book "Wild Wales" published in 1862 the writer George Borrow makes the following claim "All the best shops in Chester are to be found in the rows. These rows, which you ascend by stairs up narrow passages, were originally built for the security of the wares of the principal merchants against the Welsh. Should the mountaineers break into the town, as they frequently did, they might rifle some of the common shops, where their booty would be slight, but those which contained the most costly articles would be beyond their reach; for at the first alarm the doors of the passages up which the stairs led, would be closed, and all access to the upper streets cut off from the open arches of which missiles of all kinds, kept ready for such occasions, could be discharged upon the intruders, who would soon be glad to beat a retreat. !!

The next day  we visited the Emma Bridgewater factory
Lots of lovely pretty kitchen and tableware

They have a workshop where customers choose an item from pots, plates, cups and saucers, or bowls to decorate. You then leave the item for the shop to bake and they post it to you. I would have liked to have a go but we didn't have enough time. We were finishing the day visiting a garden centre and outlet shops.

We're looking for our next weekend away now :-)

Be warm and well ~ 
Polly x

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