Sunday, 29 April 2012

Can't Cook, Won't Cook, Part 2

Today I was willing to cook. I had a lovely gammon joint all prepared. I had the potatoes peeled, par-boiled and ready for roasting. The oven had been on for 10 minutes and was nice and hot, I opened the door to pop in the joint when sparks flew at me from the inside back of the cooker, there was a loud pop and the acrid smell of burning.

Oh woe is me, my oven has cooked it's goose! but there was no way it was going to cook my gammon.  The grill was still working so after a bit of chopping and jiggery pokery, I managed to grill several pieces, but the roast potatoes had to stay boiled. Not quite a disaster but it is a deceased oven and I don't know how it is going to get fixed!

Looks like it's beans on toast for the rest of this week, at least.

My attempt at being a good Mommy today saw me taking all the badges off No. 2 Son's Beavers jumper

and re-sewing them all on No.1 Sons old Cubs jumper. No. 2 Son is "swinging up" (I'm sure it shouldn't be called that!) this week and needs the change of uniform. Sewing is not really my forte, I don't know how to use a machine, which is why I don't own one and even my hand stitching leaves a lot to be desired. So I can assure you this was not a job I enjoyed, but it was a labour of love. All I can say is he'd better stick it out at Cubs for at least a Term or there'll be trouble.

Thankfully, I did manage to fit in making a couple of cards when we got back from Church. Two New Baby cards, one for my neighbour, who went in to hospital on Friday morning to be induced and must have had her little boy by now. I think I might be more excited waiting for news than she is having him. All I know is he hadn't arrived by yesterday lunchtime!!

I also made a couple of flowery ones, just for fun.

Now I'm off for a tour around Blogland to see what you have all been up to this weekend, then it's back to my blankets for the evening, despite the repetitive crochet ache going on in elbows and hands.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Washday Blues

Welcome to my new follower, Helen. Apologies to all my followers today as I have nothing clever, funny or interesting to blog about today!! My day has consisted of :-

Followed by:-

Then some more:-

After that was:-

Now I wish I could have a :-

but I haven't got any in, so I'll have to settle for a :-

and hope that helps to get rid of the

Wash Day Blues

We all get those wash days blues
Ironing clothes and washing shoes
I wish that I could iron quicker
Baggy shorts and blooming knickers

When you think you’re near the end
In comes your son and his best friend
He grabs the shirt that you've just done
And just discards the other one

The hairs on your neck begin to raise
And a few choice words were put in place
The door slams as he goes out
I’m sure he is off to sit and pout

I know the shirt must be worn some day
But at least wait till I've put it away
Hours pass the ironing done
Sitting relaxing just for once

Peace and calm is all around
When I hear the door handle's clicking sound
In comes my son and sits right down
Then he murmured a little sound

I love you mum you work so hard
Ironing clothes to brushing the yard
Never mind son I love you to
We'll put it down to the wash day blues
Jim O'Donnell

Hope your Saturday was more fun than mine or did you have to get down to those chores too?

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Friday, 27 April 2012

My Daily Walk, seriously!

I walk to the local Primary School in the Village at least once every weekday. Most days twice there and twice back. The majority of the time I don't really 'see' things on my walk. On a Black Dog day that might be because I don't see or feel much at all, on other days it might be because we're rushing as No. 2 Son took so long getting his shoes on, or lately it has been because we are so bundled up and with my hood up, I have trouble even crossing the road.

Today the sun has been shining and I used this Blog as a reason to take my camera out with me and looked about me along the way.

A beautiful Blossom tree in my neighbours garden.

A little stream, normally dried up, but today babbling along.

Another beautiful blossom.

One of the many kitties along the route.

We have lots of Dartmoor dry stone walling around us, all flowering.

One of the neighbours doing their bit for the energy crisis.

A lovely use for some old railway sleepers.

No.2 Son is green with envy every time he sees this bike. It has me worried.

The beautiful yarns in the local wool shop. VERY expensive!!

An historic arch in the middle of the road.

This is normally as close to the school as I'm allowed to go. It's up behind the blue railing on the right and the gate is where the lady in the blue jacket is.

The Youf of Today

The only slight mar on my lovely walk today, was No. 2 Son's use of the English Language. When told an interesting fact, the normal response these days seems to be "Seriously?!" HE said this several times in the space of 9 minutes this morning.

Now is it just me that has the overwhelming urge to repeat said fact in a lower more serious tone of voice.

Me, on spotting a bumblebee: Bumblebees can travel up to 12miles from the nest to forage for nectar.

No.2. Son: Seriously?

Me, in a very grave and somber tone:  Bumblebees can travel up to 12miles from the nest to forage for nectar.

Now surely, he means, Really? or Truthfully? but seriously, does he seriously mean, Seriously?

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Thursday, 26 April 2012

My very Own Lazarus

Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

My DH has always been at great pains to tell anyone who thinks, or says, he has had a Heart Attack that he has NOT!! I don't know whether that's because he feels that makes him more 71 years old, than 41 years old, or just because he's one of those chaps who like to be accurate.

So today's Post is both for him to set the record straight, and also for those people who have asked me about that night and the 999 call I made and what it was like.

Firstly, a heart attack is, broadly speaking, when the blood supplying the heart muscle is interrupted causing part of the muscle tissue to die. It is usually a very tiny part that dies, but the dead cells release a specific chemical which is traceable & proves a heart attack took place.

The most common cause of heart attacks is blood clots stuck in furred up arteries, hence the NHS obsession with healthy living. Cholesterol is just one factor, the acceptable level (for total cholesterol) is 5. Anything over 5.5 would have the doctors treating you,over 6 and they'd be concerned. My DH's is 2.4, if you can find anybody with a lower score, let me know !

Sometimes people will have such a mild heart attack that they don't notice.
Sometimes all they feel is a little dizzy, nauseua etc.
Sometimes they will have pain.
Very rarely and only in extreme cases the heart attack will cause a cardiac arrest (see below for info on cardiac arrest) This is what has usually happened when you hear that "so and so died of a massive heart attack". They didnt, cause of death was cardiac arrest, heart attack just triggered it.

Anyway, that's enough about heart attacks, because guess what......


He had a "sudden cardiac arrest".
Yup that's right, his heart just stopped beating, for no apparent reason. In his case (ventricular fibrilation) it just started vibrating or wobbling like a jelly.

Most cardiac arrests are VF or VT which are shockable, the other types are less common but can be fixed by administering drugs, unfortunately this is not usually available.
Contrary to popular belief amongst family and friends, I did not "save" his life, the Ambulance crew who shocked his heart did.

A few statistics for those who like that kind of thing:-

Number of “Sudden Cardiac Arrests” per year in the UK =105,000
Number of deaths from SCA per year in the UK = 100,000

Number of deaths from breast cancer per year in the UK = 12,500

Survival rate for a cardiac arrest = 5%
Of the 5% who survive, only 5% of them make a full recovery (1:400)
(Not verified)
Most of the 5% who survive are people who have a cardiac arrest in a hospital setting, where there are trained staff immediately on hand.
Chance of survival following a cardiac arrest reduces by 10% with each minute that passes.

Unsurprisingly, my DH's particular soapbox is that everyone should learn CPR. The following is an audio recording of my actual 999 call and will hopefully encourage everyone to learn CPR. Hopefully you will then stay a lot more calm than I did. I was pathetic!!

HEALTH WARNING: I am told that this recording is very traumatic to listen to, so if you are someone who is likely to be overly upset by it, please look away now.

I was told afterwards that what appears to be my DH breathing, could not have been proper breathing as when the ambulance crew hooked him up to the AED (defibrillator) on arrival, at our house, his heart was still in VF.

However, he is proof that there is life after Clinical Death. My very own Lazarus!!

This is something my DH wrote not long after the event and I share it with you because he is also proof that you should Live Life to the Max, because you never know which day will be your last.

"I have a congenital heart defect....

but I didn't know that, when I was a member of the British Hang Gliding Association
Or when I was windsurfing across Lake Bala in Wales
I didn't know that I could drop down dead at any moment when I was working as a life guard.
Or when I was skiing down Mnt Blanc
Or when I was abseiling down the Civic Centre in Walsall
I didn't know that, when I was flying solo across Texas in a light aircraft.
Or when I taking my boat across the English Channel
Would I have gone on a canoeing trip down the River Wye,
or swam to victory in the 100mtrs Butterfly
or water skii'd across Plymouth Sound if I had known I had a life threatening condition looming in the back ground ?

What is the point of living? To merely exist for as long as possible? or to really live your life and experience as many things as possible? The answer probably lies somewhere in-between the two, different people will tend towards one end of the scale or the other, most will probably be content somewhere in the middle. But my advice would be to get on with it, don't sit around thinking maybe I'll have a go at that next year.
I watch far too much television and try to justify it in my own mind by thinking it is inspirational or motivational or educational. Some of it is, and sometimes we need that kind of inspiration to get us going, but very often it is an excuse to laze about. From now on I plan to live every moment as if it's my last and see how much I can fit in before it truly is. I suggest you do the same."

If you have any questions I am happy to answer them.

My wonderful, Darling Hubby, I love you.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Maybe You can teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Welcome to Trayci, thanks for joining.

The Old Dog, of course being me. Born in 1970 I was actually born in one of the Chinese years of the Dog, which is quite appropriate for me.

It's Good to Talk

Following in many a Frugalster's footsteps, (not sure that's a word either!), DH and I have today picked the first bill to try and reduce, our Phone Bill. There have been so many adverts on lately for this or that Broadband and Calls package and we are telephoned daily by Talk Talk, so it seemed as good a place as any to start. How difficult could it be?

Immensely difficult, that's how difficult! Why, oh Why, oh Why can they not just compare like with like. Oh no, that would be too easy. We currently rent the BT line at £14.60, we have various call features such as call forwarding and diversion, etc for £6.30 a Minimum Call Fee for using Talk Talk for our Call Fees (what's that all about) of £2.70, Orange Broadband Home Select 8 mb for £23.49 and our calls themselves are normally £7 - £9 per month, call it £8.00. That's a total of £55.00 per month.

DH did most of the talking on the phone, as I'm not great with that, and then searched online aswell. One company was quoting prices for packages on the webpage that included a £5 per month discount for being a mobile customer of theirs already, although nowhere could I see that was made clear. Several that talked about "Free" calls that turned out to be weekend and evening onlys. One who was offering a good price had awful customer reviews. We tried looking on the MoneySaving Expert website aswell, but those offers seemed to be a little out of date. When DH spoke to Talk Talk their rep kept saying, "So are you happy with that?". He was extremely careful not to say yes as, previous experience has taught us, they will take this as a verbal acceptance of a contract and sign you up without further ado. There was certainly a lot of pressure from several to get you signed up before you hung up, when all he wanted was prices. It took an entire day to sort out the unlimited data from the included minutes to the Broadband speeds but eventually DH saved us over £15 per month. Not bad for our first attempt at this sort of thing.

Charity begins at Home

Normally the only time I go into a Charity shop is to make a donation. I even have Donor IDs for two particular ones, but apart from my recent wool purchase I don't really ever look around with a view to buying anything. Not so today.

I bought these two lovely purple braclets for £1.25 and £1.00 and I know exactly who they will go to for her birthday!

I also bought this sweet little tray for £1.50 and there are a couple of people I could give this to, so it depends what else I see for the other person.

I hope neither of these friends will look at these gifts and think I haven't spent much on them. I will put some of my handmade soap and other bits with them, but I know I normally would give far more that I now just can't afford to do.

Finally, I saw these sandals and they were actually in my Size, 8 and they are exactly the same as sandals I have bought in previous years for full price. They don't look as though they have ever been worn. I find buying shoes really hard in a shoe shop where there is a huge range so to find a pair in a Charity shop amazed me. Maybe it's a sign of things to come.

Another Day, Another Biscuit

Today's effort at biscuit making - chocolate fork biscuits. I won't be psoting the recipe for these ones!! DH tried one for his elevenses and they are horrible, very bitter (that will be the cocoa powder) and as dry as powder. It's like eating dust, yuck. Back to the drawing board.

Was your day as successful as mine? apart from the biscuits that is!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

You can take the Girl out of Wales

Recipe for Welshcakes as Requested

12oz (350g) self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6oz (175g) butter or margarine
41/2oz (115g) caster sugar
4oz (100g) currants
3/4 teaspoon of mixed spice - (the not so secret ingredient!)
1 large egg
about 2 tablespoons milk
caster sugar to finish

Prepare a griddle pan (it does need to be a thick heavy based pan) by greasing and heating.
Measure flour and baking powder into a large bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, currants and spice. Beat the egg with the milk, then add this slowly to the mixture and mix to form a firm dough, adding a little more milk if necessary. I don't ususally need all the egg/milk, though.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/4 in (5mm) and cut into rounds with a 3in (7.5cm) fluted round cutter.

Cook the Welshcakes on the griddle on a low heat for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown. It is important to cook them slowly, otherwise the centres will not be fully cooked through, so turn the heat down if they brown to quickly and try to be patient.

Cook on a wire rack then dust with caster sugar. They are best eaten on the day of making and my DH thinks they are best served buttered, although they will freeze like any other scone or scone, depending on how you pronounce it.


And here's a picture of me in my Welsh National Costume just for fun. When I was on holiday in France once as a child, a young French girl asked me where I was from and when I said "Wales", she said, "Is that in England?". My parents were horrified!!

Hope you enjoy them, if you should make them and don't forget to show the pictures.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Nice weather for....?

Very sharp headache this evening - taken Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, to no avail, so I might just give it another hour and take some Asprin aswell. (Please do not believe that I have any medical knowldege whatsoever). Anyway, for this reason, I was aiming to do a short Blog this evening, but then I kept thinking of things I wanted to record, so it will no doubt end up as another of my essays.

Well what is it nice weather for? These little chaps? Certainly!

But in our little World, yesterday was nice weather for this.

Shortly after I met my DH, as well as discovering he came with a half built Hovercraft (see my earlier post here), I learnt that he had a passion for all things to do with the water. He loves Wind-surfing, although he doesn't do this much. He has been Water-skiing and he absolutely adores "Messing about on the Water" in Boats.

His family have been lucky enough to own one most of the time since he was born. The current one is called Lady Tess. I'd like to tell you she looks like this!

Veerry Nice Boat!
But she doesn't! She looks like this:-

She comes out of the water every year to have her hull cleaned and repainted and yesterday, during the worst of the torrential downpours we had on and off for most of the day, it was time for her to go back into the water. I'm not sure the pictures are really clear enough to see just how wet we all got, although I did shelter inside for the short trip around Plymouth Sound back to her berth, while DH was out on the front deck and FIL was upstairs, in the wet, steering.

DH on deck sorting ropes. 

Sadly, due to changes in fortunes, the family can no longer afford the exorbitant mooring fees, that's without the running costs etc so this lovely Lady is up for sale. Not sure how quickly that will happen, but this is likely to be our last Summer of lovely days out and evenings pootling up and down the river, so we must enjoy it while we can!

I was very pleased with myself yesterday, as I made my first few tentative steps towards being frugal and made our sandwiches to take with us, as well as a flask of coffee and made up a bottle of squash. Yeah-hey, I actually thought about it and executed it. We were lucky enough to be treated to a coffee in the local pub aswell, just to warm ourselves up, although MIL was disgusted with me that I should get my crochet blanket out in the pub for a quick few minutes extra work. Clearly I'm an embarassment!
Crochet on lap - bottom left

The weather today has not been an awful lot better and today's activity in the pouring rain? A little excitement in our day, when the nice lady from Tesco rang to say her van had broken down and we could either go and get our shopping from her over the other side of town or receive it possibly another day this week... maybe! So out we duly trotted in the car to go and collect our "delivery" and just as we joined the end of the queue of other people also collecting their deliveries so the heavens opened again. 
I'm still trying to work out how to get the cost of my delivery back, as I signed up a little while ago to pay my delivery costs in advance for 3 months, as you then got every delivery for £2.50 regardless what time slot. The only condition was you had to spend £40.00 each slot and I wasn't holding out much hope of getting my shopping bill below this in the next couple of months. Hmm?

What with all of this and Aquafit tonight, my fingers are starting to web over! From now on, I'm staying in the warm and dry. And why is it that when you get out of the swimming pool you can't get dry enough to get your clothes on? I got so frustrated tonight, that I have decided in future I am going to take a dressing gown, get out of the pool at the end and drive home in my cossie and dressing-gown. It is a private pool at a lady's house so I only have to go two foot from pool to car, drive home and go another two foot from car to front door. My Aunt would be very proud of me and my decision, as she is a woman with no shame. She once arrived at an Aquafit class to discover she had forgotten her swimming costume. Did she let this deter her? she did not. She got in the pool and did the class in her bra and pants and drove home with her underwear in her bag! I've decided I'm old enough not to care who sees me driving in my dressing-gown either, so there!!

I had more to write but now I'm off for that asprin, see you soon.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Monday, 23 April 2012

A Leibster Award

I am over the moon to be given an award, especially so early in my blogging 'career'. I am really delighted to be given the Leibster award by Jo at Through the Keyhole. Thank you so much Jo.

I have really taken a lot from the fact that people are reading my Blog and the lovely comments that I have been left. They mean more than I can express in words. 

Getting to Know Me

Trying to think of 5 random facts about myself, that were vaguely interesting, was difficult. So I gave up and wrote down these five facts instead:-

1) I was an avid Line Dancer, in fact so much so, I took several dance exams and even taught my Class a couple of times when the regular teacher was away. When I was in Kissimee, Florida I bought an electric blue cowboy hat, leather cowboy shawl and matching electric blue leather cowboy boots, which I wore to every class. I either looked the part or I looked a complete ****.

2) Both my Sons were born by Caesarean Section. The first was an emergency and he ended up in SCBU for a couple of weeks. The second was an elective as decided by my Consultant who anticipated problems. Little Devils! Still they're lovely now - just as well!!

3) I once dressed up as Madonna for an 80s Disco. Guess which one is me?

4) I have been in a stretch limousine twice in my life. Both times in London, both were surprises for each son.

5) In 2005, I had a troublesome mole removed from my back which my GP said DEFINITELY was not Cancerous. It turned out to be an Intermediate to Severe Malignant Melanoma. It was removed along with a 4mm margin all around and for four months I had to wait for a lymp node biospy to see if it had spread elsewhere in my body. Thankfully, it hadn't and I now only go for annual checkups.
My Scar - I've shown you mine, now you show me yours !

Passing it On

Deciding on 5 more blogs to pass the award on to was even more difficult. I could have picked about 20 at least, but I know many of you have already had it recently, so I tried to spread it around a little. I love reading so many people's Blogs but my five are:-

1) Fostermummy - I have read every word for many months from the beginning and often go back and re-read ones I liked. Also for starting me on this journey and helping me along the way.

2) Create with TLC - For the many fabulous freebie Word Arts that I use on my card-making and the great inspiration.

3) NearlyMarthaAgain - So amusing, they have me laughing every time and Laughter really is the best medicine.

4) Never Too Old - Just the title of this Blog gives me hope.

5) Jan's Journey - a fellow Blogger just starting out like me and I'm not at all jealous of where she lives!

Please don't feel under any pressure to accept the award, it is meant as an expression of how much I enjoy your Blog, not to be a burden.

All these Blogs are  great, so hopefully you will want to pop over and have a read.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Don't Mention the War

Welcome to new Followers Sandra & Martha.

Or Maybe we should mention the War - lots!!

No. 2 Son attended a St. George's Day Parade today, all dressed smartly in his Beaver Scout uniform.
St. George is the Patron Saint of Scouting and today's parade was all about the different Beaver, Cub and Scouts sections from across the District renewing their "Promise", etc. However, No.2 Son got very confused about the purpose of the Parade, as the last one he attended was for Remembrance Day in November, where there were lots of people wearing medals and laying wreaths.

This led on to an interesting discussion about the War and it quickly became very clear that neither Son really understands it. In fairness, I think it is hard for any of us to truly comprehend the scale of it, but it is slightly sad to realise that my two don't really have any concept of how significant it was, and I'm sure they are not unique. However, I have today tried to explain that it is indeed important to remember, that a lot of ordinary people, did many extra-ordinary things and endured some horrendous things, for something they believed strongly in, for the protection of their families. Trying to explain concentration camps to an 8 year old and a 13 year old, whose main concern is when they can switch the Wii back on, is pretty heavy for a Sunday afternoon, but it was fascinating to see their knowledge and understanding grow. They also learned a little something about their Great-Grandparents.

My Grandmother, like many women, worked in an ammunitions factory during the War. I don't know whether the card below is unique, but I think there probably aren't many around.

The bottom one shows that she had a medical exemption from working with TNT, which is very lucky, as many of the women who worked in that section blew themselves up or lost body parts putting the bombs together. She used to travel on the train from Swansea to Brigend every morning at 5 am and home again at 9pm. Although the train had blackout curtains at the windows, because the train tracks would shine silver in the dark, the German planes could follow the progress of the train over the tracks and would "straff" the trains, i.e. shoot lines of machine gun fire at the roof of the train, sometimes coming through the roof and hitting the women inside. This was deliberate to stop them getting to the factory. I asked her once how they coped with this, as it must have been terrifying, and she said "Oh, we just used to sing" Amazing!

My Grandmother worked at that factory every day, 7 days a week, for 3 years without a holiday or weekend off!! I cannot imagine what this was like and my children complain how short the school holidays are, it's just inconceivable to them.

My Grandfather fought in the War and was in the 8th Army, who fought at the battle of El Alamein. Now my knowledge of all the various battles and counterstrikes is flimsy, but I do know this was one of the fiercest and bloody battles of WW2, in a part of the world that was totally unfamiliar, certainly to man from South Wales.
The picture above is of my Grandfather's medals, the one on the left is the Africa Star with the 8th Army band. I wish I knew how to put the ribbons on properly so they could be worn. I believe the Allied forces took over 13,000 casualties at El Alamein. Thankfully, my Grandfather came home at the end of the war, but he was injured and apparently came back a changed man. No wonder! Maybe when they are older they will not be as dismissive of it and it may come to mean more than it does right now, but only if we do mention the war.......... at least, occasionally.

Today's other news

This afternoon, I put my new found enthusiasm to use for somebody else and made Welshcakes for my Church's Community Cafe. Here's half a batch!

Hopefully tomorrow's customers will like them and if you'd like the recipe, (including the not so secret ingredient), I can put this up?

Now back to the Blankets.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Saturday Creations

The morning started in the most mundane of ways with a couple of hours spent at this contraption!

What does your ironing spot look like? (Please don't look at the state of my ironing board cover, I really need a new one!) However, once that and a couple of other chores were done, the creativity could start. 

Today's activities included work on Crochet Blanket No. 1. At the moment all I have is lots of squares!
The beautiful colours in these squares are all from one yarn and I'm loving the combinations. I just hope that Fostermummy will be able to give me a couple more lessons when I need to learn how to put these altogether.

Next on the Programme was some work on Crochet Blanket No. 2 project. With this one, all I have so far is a very long thin strip.
However, I also love this ecru and cream colour, for totally different reasons.

Later in the afternoon was the next attempt at finding biscuits all three boys like - Vanilla Cookies.
No. 2 Son cut them all out, so we have stars, hearts and teddy bears. What do you think? They are not finished yet as they will be dipped in chocolate by tomorrow - Cadbury's Dairy Milk, what else?

Then a couple more cards made :-
And for tea, my last creation of the day, was Fish Pie:-

I made two, not exactly bulk cooking but certainly a small step in Frugal Queen's direction which is something new to me, so I was quite pleased with myself. I only photographed one, but the other has gone in the fridge for tomorrow's tea.

Tell me which of my creations do you like the best? and what's your latest creation?

Lots of Love Arwedd xx