A Winter Special

Most cafes, bars and restaurants are starting to reopen here now and the coffee shop attached to the museum in Peel announced that they were opening this week, with the return of their winter special  - in June. Coffee and cake for £3.50.

As we needed to buy more milk and bread today, we decided to make a special trip of it - how exciting(!) - and popped in to take advantage of the special offer.

There was no crockery or cutlery in use. The coffee and cake are served in cardboard takeaway cups and trays, with disposable wooden stirrers.  It was, however, delicious and good value. A huge cup of Americano with some hot milk and a very large slice of light, moist, homemade cake.  I had lemon drizzle and P had coffee and walnut.

It was a grey morning again but thankfully no rain, so we had a stroll around town. We decided to go into the Town Hall to take a look at the plans for the proposed street improvements, which are causing some controversy in the town.  Although the main street is in dire need of attention - it is looking pretty scruffy - the plans are not very popular. It will be interesting to see what happens.

We then bought our milk and bread in the virtually empty supermarket and drove home again.

Such an exciting life we lead.




Today's Harvest

The Head Gardener has just come in from tidying up the damage from the gales.

He brought me these.....


Yum.


So Much Blood

… for such a little cut.

I was sewing this morning and accidentally snipped off a chunk of my fingertip with my nice, sharp sewing scissors.

I ran to the bathroom and held my finger under the cold running water whilst trying to open the pack of plasters from the cabinet with my other hand.  A tricky manoeuvre to say the least.

I managed to unwrap two of them and wound them tightly around the cut, which I think has now stopped bleeding.

Luckily the fabric I was working on is red, so any blood stains won't show.

It is throbbing like blazes now.  No more sewing for a day or so.


Son et Lumiere

We were treated to a spectacular show last night.  It started around 10 pm, just after we had gone to bed.

Unlike our usual, rare,  thunderstorms this one flashed and rumbled continuously over the course of a couple of hours. Even with the bedroom curtains closed the lightning flashes were so bright they lit up the room. They were like someone's demented Christmas lights. 

There was not much rain, just a few handfuls thrown against the windows but the light show was superb. 



Twelve Degrees

That is the difference in the temperature since I whinged and moaned about it a day or so ago.

It is not as hot here as it is across in the UK. We have our cool sea breeze to thank for keeping it down to around 26C, but this is about as hot as I can manage.  Thanks very much to whoever arranges the weather, but could you please just not send us those thunderstorms forecast for tonight?

I had an 8:30  appointment at the GP surgery this morning for a thyroid blood test.  Although we are apparently COVID-free and now at Level 1, almost out of lockdown, there are still restrictions in place in healthcare centres.  I had to stand outside and ring the bell. The receptionist came to stand behind the marker just inside the door and told me to use the hand sanitiser then put on a face mask from the stack beside the door before I could enter and sit in the waiting room.  The waiting area was virtually empty, apart from three chairs well spaced apart. There was just one other person there waiting, also masked.  The nurse came out to call me through. She was masked, gloved and gowned and asked me not to touch the door handles etc.   She offered me a COVID19 antibody test along with my thyroid test so I said I may as well.  I should get my results tomorrow 

For those people who asked about my new haircut, this is me now....





After The Rain

It has finally stopped raining but is still blowing a gale out there.  Although most of the UK is forecast to have another heatwave this week, we shall be struggling to see any sunshine at all.  Warm but mist and fog will be the order of the day here apparently.

This morning there were so many leaves and twigs strewn across the garden following the gales that it looked like autumn rather than summer.




The Highways Officer called around this morning to take a look at the damage caused by the recent torrential rain and the overflowing road drains.  He agreed that the drains need to be expanded and said that this will be added to their to-do list and may be started in the next few weeks.

P now has to order a load of gravel and start the job of repairing the drive.  Lucky him.







Mid Summer?

It was  mid summer's day this weekend so theoretically we should be in the middle of our summer, yes?

Well today is cold and very wet and windy and will continue to be cool and wet on and off for the rest of the week up here. Not my idea of summer.  I understand that most of the UK can expect lovely warm sunshine, so hope you all enjoy it!

I rang the GP surgery this morning and now have an appointment for a blood test on Thursday. At least I will find out if my lack of energy is due to my thyroid levels or not.

Last night's supper went well, the slow cooker cooked so that was a relief.  We had venison and I added some of the beetroot we harvested this weekend from our garden, together with a handful of dates harvested from Holland & Barrett.  It gave the sauce a pleasant sweetness to offset the richness of the venison.  Dessert was made using the last of our strawberries.

I may have enjoyed rather too much of the wine last night and am now only fit for dozing on the sofa.

Until tomorrow.





No Pressure

We have some friends coming round for supper tomorrow so I thought I would get myself well prepared and make the main course in advance today.

When cooking stews and casseroles I always use my pressure cooker as I don't have a proper working oven. Today, when I had let the pressure reduce after cooking I tasted the results but found the meat was not as tender as usual.

On checking the lid  I saw that the plastic cup which holds the weight in place had sheared, so the steam had been escaping.

I have tried to find a replacement part to order online but no luck.  The Prestige website has a Customer Enquiry form to submit, but warn that it may take 14 days for a response.

In the meantime I have rummaged in the back of the cupboard and found my 25 year old slow cooker.  I hope it still works.  The light comes on when I plug it in so here's hoping.

That will have to do until I can get either a replacement part, or a new pressure cooker.  I have my eye on one from John Lewis.

P, of course, is holding out for the spare part which would be much cheaper but would take longer to arrive!


Sleepy

I did my usual Friday morning stint at the gift shop today but was a little late closing as I still had a customer browsing and didn't want to hurry her.

After closing up I walked back through town, stopping to buy a few bits and pieces in the supermarket, then walked up the hill towards the car park.  Usually I can manage this at a fairly brisk pace with no trouble, but today I struggled a little and by the time I got into the car I was quite breathless and had to sit for a few minutes until I felt better.

Once home I made myself a quick sandwich - it was 2:30 by now and I had eaten nothing since my slice of toast for breakfast.

P has just gone out to see a friend for an hour and I am struggling to stay awake.

Laziness is making me tired.





Suspicious Deaths?

During the past week P has been discovering little corpses scattered around the garden.  Well, not quite so little in some cases.

Down at the far end of the garden several days ago he found a dead adult hedgehog just lying out  on the grass.  Then the day before yesterday he found another one in almost the same place.  Yesterday evening, as he was surveying our storm- damaged driveway he found a dead rabbit lying there, right in the middle, in broad daylight, so to speak. Its body was still warm when he went to remove it.

At first we wondered if they had all been poisoned somehow, but surely they don't eat the same things?

As we were eating supper he looked out of the kitchen window and saw an adult hedgehog waddling around up the drive. It is unusual to see them out and about during daylight hours.

 I really hope we don't find its body lying sonewhere tomorrow.

 




That Was Some Heavy Rainfall Earlier

Where did our driveway go?


Oh look, there it is. 
All over the rhubarb


Seems that P is going to be busy with his shovel for the next day or two.

Why Did You Do That?

You may have noticed me mention Peel Castle in some of my previous blog posts.   It is a well known historical site, situated on St Patricks Isle attached to Peel by a causeway from the marina. We have a fine view of it from our house.

It was built in the 11th century during the reign of the Viking King Magnus Barefoot and has enjoyed a long and varied history. It is now largely a ruin but there are still many parts of it intact and it is a very interesting and appealing site to visit.

It is currently maintained by Manx National Heritage and has only just reopened following the island's relaxation of lockdown restrictions.


However, I was saddened to read yesterday that sometime over the weekend it had been targeted, seemingly by a group of bored youths, who had for some reason decided to kick down the ancient and very rare 500 year old wooden door at the entrance, causing extensive - and expensive - damage which now requires specialist attention.  Several bottles discarded at the scene have been removed by the police for "examination".

I can understand that with their first taste of freedom after months of lockdown young people want to let off a little steam but to wilfully vandalise and destroy part of our island's heritage - why would they do that???










A Birthday Party

I know that there are terrible things happening right now out there in the big wide world and believe me, I do think about, and care about, it all - a lot.  However, I do not blog about it and usually do not comment on other bloggers' posts about it. Not because I don't care, but because I don't feel that I have anything constructive to say that will make a difference to the rest of the world.  Confrontation and argument make me feel anxious so I generally just try to avoid it when I can.

So, to anyone that feels my blog posts are vacuous, sorry but here is yet another one.

Sunday afternoon we celebrated a friend's birthday at a little party in their garden. There were eleven of us all seated around the same table - minimal social distancing.  The sun shone, the birds were singing and we enjoyed fantastic food prepared by our kind hosts, with a glass each of bubbles to toast the birthday boy (well, I had two glasses but I wasn't driving home).  We were treated to the spectacle of a family of house martins making their nest under the eaves directly above us, totally unconcerned  by our company.

As we were leaving around 5:00 p.m. there was a terrific noise outside on the road (they live in a quiet village so this was a surprise).  Walking down their path to the road we came across a bit of a logjam of vehicles all trying to manoeuvre past our parked cars.  The vehicles trying to pass by in one direction all seemed to be boy-racer hatchbacks  whose young drivers were a little heavy on the accelerator.  Squeezing past them in the other direction was a procession of three or four open top Lamborghinis driven by some slightly aggressive looking males with equally scary looking female companions, all scowling angrily as they tried to negotiate the parked cars along the roadside.  There was a lot of revving of engines and squealing of brakes before the road was mercifully clear.  I have no idea what was going on but the rest of the journey was also quite traffic-heavy.  It seemed as if, with our lockdown eased, a huge bubble had been popped and all the younger generation had come rushing and tumbling out into the air to cause mayhem.

On the way home we stopped briefly to admire the section of road south west from Peel which still has a mass of Valerian in flower.  This display stretched along the side of the road for almost 2 miles, but I would have had to stand in the middle of the road to capture all of it, so this is all you get....





Here's Twenty Pounds On Me

I should have paid more attention, I know.  When I bought my new mobile 'phone earlier this year I topped it up with a £20 Pay As You Go voucher, thinking that would last me quite a long time.

Being hard of hearing I don't use the 'phone for calls, only for its camera and for web access via free WiFi.  It is also handy to contact people via text messages if I am out and about without internet access.

I had been periodically checking my balance and still had £19.60 left - I don't text very much as you can tell.

Last weekend I needed to text P to arrange for him to come and collect me after a walk with the girls but for some reason it wouldn't send anything.  When I eventually reached home and logged into my account it showed I had no balance so was unable to make any calls.  What happened to my £19.60???

I hadn't read the small print. Any Pay As You Go top-up only lasts 90 days then expires.  

Lesson learnt.  I have now added £5, the minimum amount and made a note on my calendar to use it up before it goes AWOL.

Shivers

It's flipping freezing here today.

I was working in the gift shop all morning with the door open.  Even behind my plexiglass screen I could feel the cold draught blowing through.  The heavy rain didn't help either, making the draught damp as well as cold.

As soon as I got home I put on my fleece sweatshirt and now have a hot water bottle on my lap.

We have been invited to lunch in our friends' garden on Sunday. Hope it warms up by then!



Good News All Round

The first piece of good news for me today was an email from Currys telling me that my new laptop was ready to be collected.  We drove to the store on the outskirts of Douglas to find there were no other cars waiting at the drive-through pick up point and three lovely young  gentleman all standing waiting for customers.  I handed over my email printout and within 5 minutes my package was deposited into the open car boot ready to be whisked away home.

It took no time at all to set it up and I am now enjoying the freedom of my own, exclusive tech candy.

The best news, however, was announced this evening. From Monday there will no longer be any social distancing required, except for health and care environments. We are close to 28 days with no cases and it is to be assumed that we may currently be virus free.  We shall be keeping our borders closed for the time being to maintain the status quo.

Boy, that news was welcome today.

A Visit To The Supermarket

As our lockdown restrictions have now been eased (20 days with no COVID19 cases),  I decided to do the supermarket shop today.  Up until now I have given P a list and he has done all the food shopping for us.

I did wear a rather fetching pair of blue disposable gloves but no mask.  Nobody else is wearing them either. 

The shop was not busy at 11:00 am and I did not feel rushed. I was able to easily move up and down each aisle and take my time perusing the stock. Not that they had everything I wanted, but we shall not go short for a while.  It is strange how all our local shops no longer seem to stock coffee filter papers. When asked  the staff just said "We don't do those any more".   We may have to rely on Amazon for them in future.

All went well, until the end.

There was only one checkout till open and four people with full trolleys in the queue. We tacked ourselves onto the end of the queue but the gentleman manning the baskets-only desk, where they also sell lottery tickets and cigarettes, called us over and said he would serve us, even though we had a trolley full.  Of course, as soon as he had started scanning our stuff, 3 people turned up behind us with only one or two items each.  I felt really embarassed and kept apologising, whilst trying to grab all the scanned items from the tiny space beside the till and shove them back into the trolley  before they toppled onto the floor.  It was very kind of him to offer to serve us, but it didn't really turn out well.

For northsider Dave:
On the way home we stopped the car so that I could take a photo of the valerian for you. Unfortunately they are already past their best and it was a grey, rainy morning so not a good photo I'm afraid.  The senecio is out now though and is starting to look good.








How Much??

That's what P just said when I told him that I had just ordered a new laptop, solely for me to use.    We can apparently collect it from Currys on Thursday:  we are not allowed to enter the store so I have had to select it online and they will email us with instructions on when and how collection is to be arranged, with car registration and mobile 'phone number etc. involved.

At least once I have the new one set up he can use this one and do whatever he wants on it without compromising our personal information.  I can continue to do my online banking and household accounts, shopping and bill paying without worrying about what he may have just clicked on.

Also, he may be able to find some online games to download - something I have resisted up until now for reasons of security concerns.

It also meams that I don't have to wait my turn to go online - I can use my laptop whenever I want to.

Result!


I Am So Very Cross

...with P this evening.

I was checking my Facebook messages from my family when I noticed that he had shared a post sent to him on his Facebook account.

It appeared to be from Tesco offering a free £50 voucher by clicking on a link to a website page to make your claim. An obvious scam. I asked him if he had clicked on it. He said he had.

I am now running a full virus scan on the laptop and hoping he hasn't caused any lasting damage.

Grrrr....

Sunday's Blisters

This week the girls and I met up for our walk at Sarah's house down in the south of the island, which meant I had to get up half an hour earlier than usual. Although I used to be up at 6:45 when I was working, I have become accustomed to sleeping in until around 8:30 these days and early starts are more difficult.

It was a bright, sunny yet very windy morning and we needed our windproof jackets.  It was a very pleasant walk up the hill from her house and around the lanes for our hour and a half walk before returning to sit in her garden with our flasks of coffee, and date oaties baked by one of the girls.

Somewhere along the way one of my trainer socks had slipped down at the back and I now have a fresh blister where my shoe had rubbed my heel.

No gain without pain, so it is said.







Stormy Saturday

A bit of a gale overnight and into today meant that the ferries couldn't sail, so no Saturday newspapers in the shops this morning.

We usually spend our Saturdays reading all the supplements and doing the various crosswords. Our favourites are the cryptic and the two general knowledge ones.

P has been out into the garden between showers picking up debris from the winds, not enough to keep him fully occupied.  Luckily I had secretly taken out a subscription for him to Private Eye and the first edition arrived yesterday so at least he has something interesting to read until the weather improves.

My new fabric arrived yesterday too so I am now in the process of trying out a different pattern.  Keeps me amused anyway.

We have just had bacon sandwiches for lunch - a very rare treat - and now the whole house smells of bacon.  As we shall be having a chinese takeaway tonight, I think a strong air freshener will be called for later.


Can I Help You?

First day back volunteering at the shop. Safe behind my screen, wearing mask and gloves.


The mask is a nuisance as it gets tangled with my hearing aids.


Chop, Chop

I have had some good news. Our hairdressers have reopened for business.

There is a backlog but I am now booked in for an appointment in two weeks.

I hope she will be able to tidy up the mess that I have made over the past 3 months of fringe hacking.


The Slippery Slope

I am a very lazy writer.  My blog posts are usually just a stream of words, oozing from my brain to the keyboard via my fingertips, without too much thought or planning.  Although I do try to check for spelling or obvious grammatical errors, that is about it.

Yesterday my post contained a glaring factual error which Cathy immediately picked up on.  When I read her comment I looked back on what I had written and thought "Why did I write that when I know that it was incorrect?"    I seem to be having more of these lapses as time goes on.  Sometimes during a conversation the words that come from my mouth are not the ones that were forming in my mind.  Why did I just say that?  Where did that come from?

I know that I have touched on this subject before in my blog but I do have that niggling worry that I am losing my marbles, and I am only 63!

Perhaps I should ease off the evening glass or two of wine.

Anyway, in other news, our hostas seem to have turned into triffids overnight...



Out And About

We thought we should make the most  of  this week's continuing good weather, before the forecast cooler, rainy stuff arrives on Wednesday.

After my long walk yesterday I just felt like a stroll today so, after coffee, we drove the 5 minutes to the supermarket at the edge of Peel and parked the car.  It was a pleasant stroll down onto the promenade with its view of the castle, and a few families distancing on the beach.

 We walked along to the footbridge and across the harbour to the causeway out to the castle.  The weather seems to have brought many people out and it was quite busy.




After walking out to the breakwater to look for seals (no luck) we retraced our steps, pausing to take a look at Fenella Beach and the hardy souls swimming.  The carving of Lady Fenella stood proudly at the entrance, surveying the scene.




I popped into the supermarket which was also quite busy and found myself adding a pack of chocolate & hazelnut ice creams into my basket.  Don't know how that happened!