Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Close To Home

The mediaeval wall paintings uncovered by accident at this Church are wonderful. It is only about half an hour's drive away from us, so I hope to visit it in the New Year :-)

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Monday, November 29, 2010


 On Sunday afternoon , I was in urgent need of acquiring  warm winter tights in bottle green for DD4 to wear to school, as even her renowned hardiness quailed at the thought of braving daytime temperatures of minus 3 in a skirt and long socks ! We had been monumentally unsuccessful in our attempts at other places over a three day period, and going to the Big City was my last hope.

The trip was successful though the bus journey was a little tedious at one and a half hours each way :-(
Considering DD4 is only just 9, I ended up having to buy tights for her that were labelled as age 12 -14, but they did fit her and were very warm, thank goodness.

 It was also Mr & Mrs DoomHamster's first wedding anniversary :-)
We were able to meet up with the happy couple and spent a few happy hours shopping, chatting and having fun , and it was a delight to see them so bubbly and happy. Even though it was minus 8 whilst we were in the City centre. When we got out off the bus, it was like inhaling ice chips into our lungs !!
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Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Tribulations Of Having A Car

Each year, any car in the UK that is over three years old has, by law, to undergo an MOT test to ensure the car is safe and roadworthy. If a car fails, the owner has a short period of time to get the faults fixed and then must take it back to be re-checked. In order to drive your car legally, you need a valid MOT certificate to obtain tax and insurance.

DH's old banger of a car which he uses as a run-around went in for its MOT. It failed on a few minor points, which DH paid to get fixed elsewhere and took it back to the dealership to get it re-tested within the statutory time limit.  It was booked in for re-test on Friday, which was a frantically busy day for us, so we were glad we had a 10.30am slot.

When we got there, we were greeted with "Oh, the mechanic who did your test is not working today, can you bring it in next week?" Well, this was extremely incovenient for us as the dealership is in another town, and if they knew the mechanic was not in work when they opened at 8.30am, why on earth did they not phone us to save us a wasted journey ? (they do have my mobile number on their database).

The lady manning the desk was adamant that it was THE LAW that exactly the same mechanic who did the original test had to do the re-test as well, no matter what we said or pleaded for one of the other mechanics on duty to do it. I checked the failed MOT test certificate and it definitely did not say that the same mechanic had to do the re-test, only that it had to be done at the same garage, and that if there were any questions about the test, they could be answered by consulting the MOT website or the official MOT handbook which each garage has on site.

So, being the awkward customer that I am, I requested firmly that she show me the legal documentation which proved that it had to be the same mechanic doing both tests. She huffed and puffed, and said she had been working in the dealership for ten years, and she knew what she was saying. I stuck to *my* guns and said that if it didn't specify that on the legal form, then it was not a legal requiremnt, even though it may be their firm's "Best Practice".

 She said she would check on the MOT website and print out the pages to "show" me. After ten minutes, when she had not returned, I whispered to DH that perhaps she was finding it harder to prove her point than she thought. A few moments later, she headed out of the office to the service area.
After a further 30 minutes, she returned, clutching the completed  MOT documents, showing that our car had successfully passed the re-test, documents which had been signed by another mechanic who had done the work and it had all been accepted as legal by their computer system linked to the MOT network.

She did have the grace to say that she had learnt something new that day, and I made  a  point of thanking her very much for taking the time to do the double-checking for me. We parted on good terms, smiles all round, and without the added hassle of having to sacrifice another of DH's precious days off work next week to sitting around waiting  for the test to be done again :-)
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Pictures Of Venice

For a real treat, and oodles of wonderful photos of Venice, go here. I have this bookmarked as one of my faves.
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Friday, November 26, 2010


It is currently  -2 degrees C, 28 F.

It is so cold that despite having two duvets on the bed and a woollen blanket, and wearing fleecy PJ's to bed, I woke up at 3 am shivering and could not go back to sleep. I've got up to put the central heating on low, just to take the chill off the house, or else the small ones will wake up cold too, and be unable to get back to sleep.

I've started work on a St Nicholas short story, which I hope to finish later today :-)
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tempus Fugit

I have no idea where today just went !

After taking DD4 to school and walking the dog, I dived in the shower, sent a birthday card to a relative, phoned the monumental stone mason about my brother's gravestone and went to my mother's house to sort out paperwork in preparation for a government official who was visiting at 11am to assess her financial circumstances to see if she qualifies for a "top-up" to her state pension.

The good news is that she may be able to get around £70 a week extra, as well as getting exemption from paying the Council Tax rates, which is around £100 a month that she is not finding it easy to afford. The claim may be able to be backdated to August, which will be a very nice lump sum for her and will relieve her anxiety about paying the heating bills.

Of course, one piece of information I needed wasn't to hand, but I went straight to the bank, retrieved the relevant information (which was just documentary proof of what I said it was) and took it straight to the appropriate department before treating myself to a much-needed lunch at Subway before heading to the place where I was due to start my volunteer work by 1.15pm.

As I was passing the thrift shop, I popped in and found no fewer than three excellent books, which I picked up for a song.  It was a productive afternoon, and my DH is on his way home from work, before all the snow due for the end of the week will hit the country.

All in all, a good day.
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Praying The Psalter

I am now praying the Psalter with increased fervour, for Hamada, who died peacefully yesterday afternoon, and for his wife Susie and their family.

Hamada's brave battle against the vile rare cancer of Multiple Myeloma has been a long one, and has been chronicled by Susie with such love, devotion and care at her blog .

I only "met" Susie just over a year ago, but she and Hamada have been such a source of inspiration to me as well as to so many other people. She writes about the difficult challenges life has thrown at them  with great  grace, humour and dignity, and writes wonderful poems about the deep and enduring love she and Hamada have for each other.

My heart goes out to her and her family as they mourn the passing of Hamada into eternal Life and they face the start of a new life here on earth without his physical presence.

Rest eternal grant unto Hamada, O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon him. May he rest in peace and may his memory be eternal .....
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Week's Resolution

is........ that I will clean the garden window inside and out so I can try and take photos of the gorgeous birds in the garden.

Now the weather is getting colder, my robin redbreast is back , and so are my usual little garden visitors.  I love to see them :-)
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Getting Cross

I know this is a truly pathetic and whining rant, but someone in the vicinity of our house has left their dog out in the garden all day. Their dog has a loud and piercing bark, and so far, since 10 am today , the longest interval I have recorded between his barks has been 10 SECONDS. The dog has barked relentlessly all day, and did so yesterday too, according to my DH who was home ill.

My own dog is curled happily up on the sofa snoozing, and when he goes into our garden, looks quite baffled as to why this strange dog is barking all the time.

I am slowly going up the wall with the barking.

I really, really want to go in my garden and scream at the owner to put the dog in their house so it can drive *them* mental and not me.

Sorry. Rant Over
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NaNoWriMo 2010

Updated to add:

Meg asked about my banner - I found a suitable image on the web and imported it into this wonderful free online gizmo which lets you create your own artwork in whatever size you want. It was great fun to do !

Michelle asked if I was carrying on writing it; yes, I am, though not with such driven fervour. I've only done about 300 words today in order to tidy up a loose end of the plot which was driving me mad :-)


I have reached the finishing line and am now at 50,106 words, though I am nowhere near the end of the story.....

This is the banner for my story....

Generated image
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Some More Autumn Photos

                                               Especially for Margaret, who asked for them !

                                           All were taken within the space of one hundred yards.....

I believe this is a rowan tree, judging by the berries, but I'm not 100% certain.

Only a few desultory ripples on the pond.

This tree has lost nearly all its leaves overnight.

This one has glorious mixes of colours if you click on it to enlarge.......

The tiny white dots in the hill fields are sheep :-)
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pot Boiling !

I find it really quite frightening that I seem to be able to churn out my story at this speed - it cannot be good quality, I'm sure !!!!

This is just the best widget for prompting me to write, however demotivated I might be.....

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Winter Is Coming!

We woke up this morning to a literally howling gale, uncannily reminiscent of something you would imagine from Wuthering Heights......... the temperature is hovering just above freezing, and the intermittent showers are threatening to turn to sleet. In North Wales, they have had snow.

It was not pleasant walking DD4 to school this orning, and I had to exert iron self-control when I got home - I just wanted to take my coat off and hibernate in the warm, but the dog needed  a walk, so I gritted my teeth, rummaged in the hall till I found my warm woolly hat, and took the dog out. He thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and then I was able to reward myself with a cup of tea, with a clear conscience :-)

I don't mind the cold at all, providing I am well wrapped up, but rain + cold + chill high winds is a grim combination. Many of the trees have shed the last of their pretty autumn leaves now, and things are starting to look cold and grey as the days shorten dramatically..........
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Friday, November 05, 2010

I spent a large chunk of yesterday at my Mum's house, sorting out some paperwork for her prior to the arrival of a local Council Finance Officer. The Officer was visiting to assess Mum's financial situation and to see how much money she needs to pay each week towards the cost of the Carers (who are visiting each morning to  make sure she is okay and has everything she needs).

It took absolutely ages to get it all done, but the good news is that Mum is actually eligible for financial help, which will defray the cost of what she needs to contribute for her care, so she is absolutely delighted ! She was fearful that she would have to pay a large amount for her carers to continue visiting, so this worry has now been taken away completely, thanks be to God !

We had a brilliant morning together, spending much of the time laughing uproariously. She is very frail, but it was good to be with her, and see her so positive and upbeat, planning what she wants to buy various people for Christmas etc.

Unfortunately, the weather was so bad that I could not take any photos of the trees when I was walking home, and the high winds over the last few days have been decimating the numbers of leaves left on the trees.  I will do my best to get some pictures of our lovely Autumn colours before they disappear completely for another year ! 

The weather is dreadful here again today, and the girls are so disappointed - it is Bonfire Night, and they were so looking forward to going to the big public firework display tonight. It won't be very much fun in the torrential rain, but it may still clear up by this evening. . Or we can simply wrap up very well in waterproof clothing, LOL..............
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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNo Madness

I have had such fun this week !

NaNoWri Mo started on Monday morning, and as you can see from my widget, I am heading for the 8000 word mark.   My progress is being updated several times a day on my Facebook page, so if you are a regular commenter and would like to follow me, email me at :
orthodoxmum at gmail dot com       and I will send you the info !

 I'm hoping to do a book of short stories, but the first one - the plot which I had toyed with writing last year- has taken on a life of its own and is careering in directions I honestly never expected. It has become a horror/ creepy story, with a lot of angst, but I am hoping it will take a much happier turn quite soon. Perhaps I should be a little concerned that I didn't find it hard to write, but it was germane to the plot. I will be glad to wrap it up in the near future and move on;  I really want to do one about St Nicholas of Myra, but whether that will be next or a few more stories along, I'm not quite sure.

On Tuesday I was asked to participate in a panel interviewing candidates for a job, which was actually quite difficult, as all the candidates were good and two were absolutely outstanding. Choosing between them was really quite hard, and one always worries about whether the correct decision was made, but time will tell , I suppose.

I've also been proof-reading and commenting on a friend's academic assignment, which was only twenty typed pages long, but took me ages as I had to look up a lot of acronyms etc and check the correct forms had been used. Very interesting, nonetheless, and has expanded my knowledge base quite considerably :-)

Mum is progressing quite well and is able to see more each day. Her eye is healing nicely, and she is much more confident moving around now she can see what she is doing.

So, good news abounds. Long may it continue !  If only myDD1, DoomHamster, my dear son-in-law and my dear friend Elizabeth in Canada could get suitable jobs, I would be over the moon ........

DD3 has Scouts tonight, so the girls  have  been fed tea nice and early, and all of DD3's kit is ironed and ready. No-one has any homework to do tonight, so I am looking forward to a tranquil evening and the return of DH to the fold after his busy days working away from home.
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