Thursday 29 December 2016

The present situation

Both Mr FF and I managed yet again to spend just £5 on each other at Christmas. Since the rule is no food or drink these two items are excluded though they were in my stocking, 
a fat rascal from Betty's that was enjoyed toasted with butter for Christmas breakfast 
and two brownies from another local shop.  Mr FF used to walk across the valley and up to the farm where they are made to buy them and delicious eggs but now the lady has opened a shop in town so that's much handier but less healthy.
In my proper stocking received several books, one of our charity shops is closing down and with everything at half price these were 25p each.  I've already read the bottom one so that can go back, the others are destined for summer reading in Italy.
Scented candles, white fig and patchouli in a pretty glass jar and fresh linen
and finally this packet of seeds made me smile so much, I know three kitties who might appreciate their very own grass to munch.  This is the photo Mario sent us just before Christmas, the best present of all.  

Saturday 24 December 2016

Christmas Eve

I think we are all a little subdued by recent events in Berlin, and worried and scared too.  2016 has been a terrible year for acts of terrorism, for wars and displacement of people and for great political upheaval.  
No one knows what 2017 will bring but its important to remember all the goodness  in the world and not to feel despair.   I hope your Christmas is peaceful and happy however you choose to celebrate.
Ours will be all those things and low key as always here in the penthouse, have a good one.

Sunday 18 December 2016

It's going OK

So the madness intensifies.  I walked into town yesterday for the newspaper, yes of course Mr FF reads the daily paper on line but with £10 of shopping at our local supermarket we get weekend papers free and I love having them.  For some reason all the shops were full of vegetables, extra displays of large packs of sprouts, carrots and potatoes.  I may have got it wrong but why do we need so many more greens a week before Christmas, next there will be panic buying and a sprout will be selling on eBay for a small fortune.  Keep calm people please. There will be the same number of people in this country at Christmas, more or less, eating admittedly a bit more food than usual but this excess is horrible and I dread to think of the waste.  
My half hearted preparations are progressing, I have already spent £1.89 on three items for Mr FF and all the family gifts are wrapped ready for delivery sometime this week.
We had our inmates Christmas lunch on Friday.  It was a bit mental as most people had forgotten what they'd ordered in advance and the organiser hadn't taken the list.  Some took other peoples orders which meant several dishes weren't claimed and other food had to be cooked involving a wait.  At the end of the meal the restaurant provided bills for each table of 8 and sorting out individual costs, some meals from the festive menu, some off piste and then the drinks took over an hour, by which time my feelings of goodwill towards men had left.
On a more positive note my dental extractions are fine, I spoke to my dentist after about 10 days as I was still in a bit of pain and was reassured and offered 24/7 advice if I continued to be concerned, I don't.
And OK yes you can see our Christmas tree on the ground floor of the building. Mr FF and I with a few other neighbours put it up last Sunday, its beautiful as usual.  The houses opposite and below us are well decked too and we get the benefit from our bedroom windows where this was taken.
I hope your plans are going well and you have a calm week. 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

It's time for a seasonal rant

I still have some pain after I had two teeth extracted a week ago so it's quite easy for me to be irritable at the moment but two things are really getting on my nerves.  Technology and tinsel, let me explain.
Mr FF loves to keep us up to date with the latest innovations, he's upgraded his mobile phone twice in the last few years and always hands me his old one. I don't use a mobile phone, I carry one for emergency use and since I never (touch wood) have an emergency the money I put on the phone has in the past expired before I can use it.  So I never become familiar with different phones and although he tells me I can do wonderful life enhancing things with them I don't switch on.  Nothing infuriates me more than to be with friends who are all heads down looking at their phones while I sit like a lemon, I should take my knitting or a book to occupy me during these periods of silence but of course taking out a book to read whilst in company would be considered rude, flicking through mail and apps apparently is not.  
I had a radio in the kitchen so I could listen to Radio 4 and the Archers whilst cooking.  It was simple, already tuned into the right station I switched it on and switched it off as required.  Now we have a Bose something system, touch sound maybe, basically box like devices in various rooms with practically no controls on them at all.  
These not only provide Radio 4 but other stations and music.  If I want to change the music it has to be done via the computer, Mr FF tells me I can also do this via my phone.  I'd like a system where you select a CD from the enormous stack we have gathering dust and stick it in the slot, or maybe even have my radio back.  Now all the music in the world is available to me, if I could figure out how, it's too much.
This week Mr FF has ordered a HIVE system to control the central heating,  in the our apartment, again I'll be able to do that via my phone, tablet or laptop, ha ha.  We'll be able to check what the temperature is in the penthouse when we are away, big deal. Actually I'm not worried too much about this upgrade as we hardly ever need the central heating on in our cosy penthouse, presumably I can still just turn it on if its needed.
And the tinsel business.  I'm just sick of reading all over the place about how to prepare for the perfect Christmas and particularly decorations.  
I see photos of presents wrapped with too many ribbons then dressed with sprigs of greenery and baubles, why would you give someone that, surely the foliage would die before the present was opened and how would you transport such fragile parcels in a car packed with gifts on your Santa run.  I think the value should be in the gift not wrappings that are to be thrown away.  
Perfect table settings are another irritant, give me strength. 
I like candles, I light a candle every day but I don't intend strewing my dining table with them and baubles and more greenery and plants, there's hardly room for the gravy.  The perfect wreath seems to retail at around £100 and even pine cones you can pick up in the woods sell for about £12.  No wonder people like me who teeter on the edge of bah humbug are pushed over. OK that's an exaggeration, I went over years ago, we had fish cakes for Christmas dinner last year and yes Mr FF and I will still operate our £5 limit on gifts to each other, despite the falling value of the £.  

Thursday 1 December 2016

A full body service

I feel like some old car that's had an MOT and needs patching up at the garage. In the two weeks since I got back from Italy I've had my hair cut and my eyebrows tinted, they'd practically disappeared as many are white and the sun bleached the rest to oblivion.   My hair is still fairly dark with some white so I seem to get away with darkish eyebrows and I do like not having to pencil them in every day, when I remember.
I've made an appointment for my three yearly breast scan, I missed my turn whilst I was away and been to the doctors about the dizzy spells I've experienced recently.   My doctor thinks they are probably a type of migraine.  I suffered with debilitating migraines when I was working and thought they'd stopped, it seems they just take a different and when they happen rather scary form. We are monitoring the situation but at least I feel reassured that I probably don't have some life threatening condition.  
Most dramatic of all I've been to the dentist and had two adjacent crowned teeth taken out in preparation for dental implants.  I won't go into the graphic details but getting one of them out was traumatic.  My dentist was friendly and gentle, he almost moved me to tears with his kindness though I admit I was feeling vulnerable and emotional at the time.  Now I have to wait six weeks for healing to take place before the next of seven appointments.   I am still in a little pain on the third day, hating having to rinse my mouth frequently with salt water and hoping it's all going to be worthwhile and a good use of my savings. At 68 I don't want a mouth full of brilliant white and perfect teeth but I do want to laugh without displaying gaps.

So that's a lot of interventions in two weeks, I would say I shall take it easy now but there is of course the dreaded Christmas.  I've decided not to make a cake this year as we had half of last years still on the go beyond Easter.  As usual I have no idea what we shall eat on the 25 but at least I shall be going into the festive season pretty sure that I'm in good working order and that I should keep motoring along for another year or so.