Saturday, 12 September 2020

First conker!!

I've found my first conker of the year, always worth noting!

In fact I'd say it's most autumnal. I took myself off out for a walk the other day and there were signs of Autumn everywhere and still some late warm sunshine.

Sam and I were supposed to be in Prague this week, so I've kept the time off work, I need a break away from it all. In fact I've just changed my hours, so in future I'll only be working 3 days.

So with a little time off, Sophie and I headed over to Bath on Tuesday, hoping for it to be quieter. It was to begin with but steadily built as the day went on, so we headed home after lunch. Shopping is no longer the fun activity it used to be. You can't touch anything, try anything on, you can't linger, you're constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure people aren't too close. I think unless I really need something, I won't be shopping until things improve.

On Wednesday, the day finally arrived.....

....for Sophie to start her new job. 
Working from home sadly, not quite the experience she was hoping for but for now, it's still happening and she has a job for the year.

Sam and I decided to spend Thursday together, up on the Polden Way. It wasn't strolling over the King Charles Bridge or sipping a beer at some pavement cafe in Prague but we did enjoy a packed lunch with a view....

..... and a lovely couple of hours walking and talking

Took some fab photos along the way too.

I actually went out out in the evening!! I met a friend for a meal, got chauffeured by Sophie, so I got to enjoy a couple of drinks too. It was so lovely and a much needed catch up. Earlier in the day, news of renewed restrictions broke. It's back to being no more than 6 people inside or out. It doesn't really affect me. Sophie had been hoping to meet up with friends from Uni next weekend, which now can't happen and now Sam's friends are heading off to uni, he should be quieter anyway. He has only 4 weeks until his first Physics exam, so needs to knuckle down anyway.

So it's back to work tomorrow, the last of my old hours and last Friday! The weather forecast is wall to wall sunshine for tomorrow, typical as I return to work. I have just been out to inspect the garden and my self seeded pumpkin patch. We've 6 pumpkins, although the smaller ones are still very green, hoping the sunshine will help ripen them and it continues well into the rest of the month. Anyway, I'm heading out to the garden with a coffee and my book, making the most of the sunshine.
Have a good week x

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Into the 'ber' months

Pinch and a punch.....

....hello September!
As we enter the 'ber' months!!

We say farewell to August, a busy month celebrating - our 24th Wedding Anniversary, Sams 18th and his A-Level results. Jeff was happy to return to refereeing, we got a new car as a result of the mini failing it's MOT . The weather has been nothing special, in fact there has been a strong autumnal feel for the past couple of weeks.

Sophie and I day tripped it to Cornwall on Wednesday, to see Mum and Dad and mainly to visit Granny, who is sadly beginning to show/feel her age. She's fiercely determined to stay at home, which puts a lot extra on to my dad and now has to have carers in 3 times a day. We had to be indoors this visit, so wore our masks, still no hugs, keeping our distance....

.... but it was still lovely to spend some time with her and see Mum and Dad.

It was a lovely day, the journey home on the other hand was nothing to write home about. There had been an accident 2-3hrs before we got caught up in it and we ended up in crawling traffic. As a result, instead of getting home around 6pm, we walked through the door just before 9pm!!

Thursday was a first! The first time I'd been home ALONE in 6 months.
I had the whole house to myself. Sophie had gone to meet friends...

....Jeff was back to work....

....and Sam too!!
He's been taken on full time from his Sunday job, for the duration of his Gap Year. I think he's glad to have something to get up for, plus he'll be happy to receive his first pay cheque.

So with Autumn in full stride, the cycle of returning to school and work begins and we start to settle back into some form of a routine. Obviously it's not like previous years. Jeff will be the most 'normal' in his daily comings and goings. Sam will be working different hours every week but I'm sure that'll settle into a pattern and Sophie? Well she remains at home, starts with the ONS for her Placement Year on Wednesday but from the luxury of the box room! It will be lovely to have her around at the weekend, when she's not off visiting friends. So a different time ahead. It feels good to be opening back up into a new 'normal'. Obviously things could change again, just like that, but hopefully we can settle into a new routine and I can enjoy the odd period of peace and quiet at home xx

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Summer is coming to an end!

I fear summer is over. The weather this week hasn't been great, with ominous skies over the Tor, which resulted in the largest clap of thunder I have EVER heard, then the most torrential rain.

These two pics from another day were taken less than an hour apart.
I'm hoping we might be treated to a bit of late summer sunshine. The sort we get once the school's go back and the afternoons are actually quite warm and sunny.

I swapped my days around this week, so have had 3 consecutive days off, which have been great despite the weather. On Friday Jeff collected the new mini replacement - a red Corsa. It's 14 years old but seems to drive okay, the little I've done. Sam will eventually use it the most, once his insurance policy runs out on the Micra. It's too expensive to swap over early.

I've used my time wisely to sort out the box room. It had become a bit of a dumping ground, what with all of Sophie's Uni stuff being stored there too. She needs the space to work from, during her Placement Year, whilst she's working from home. So it's been given a bit of a tidy up, with a tip run to boot. Why do we have so much stuff!?! 

On a personal note, I've been a bit too relaxed with my eating over the past month. With no holiday to look forward to and not many treats on the horizon, I've felt 'sod it' and eaten a few too many things I shouldn't. So I've reigned it all back in, have an 11 week countdown as of today, until I turn 50 and am determined to be sat comfortably in the 9st bracket for the big day!! So a great first week. I post all my meals over on my @pcossproutsandme50 Instagram page, for anyone that's interested.

So we enter the final week of the Summer holidays. Sam has already started his job and he's in demand with both the Main school and Prep school fighting over him!! They've made his Sunday job permanent for the year, he's just helping out in the dining rooms and kitchen but it's good hours, a fair wage and they're reasonably understanding and flexible if he wants time off. 

Jeff goes back in for INSET days next week, officially starting back the following Monday and then Sophie remains here, working from home, with a start date of the 9th for her Placement Year. I have a couple of days off when we should have been going to Praque and it looks like our trip to Barcelona in October will be cancelled too, as the flights are showing up as SOLD OUT which means they won't be flying, we've come to realise. So absolutely everything booked and planned for this year has now been cancelled. It's tricky to know whether to book something here instead, for Sophie's 21st and my 50th, given they're both in November and we could be in lockdown again if things worsen. 
What a year!?! 

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Saturdays come around quick!

I've fallen into the habit of writing my blog on a Saturday, as I now work every Sunday! It's become a round up of the week, so when I look back I remember the significant moments. Some weeks are more significant than others, Monday was pretty significant!!

I was actually at work when the news broke but finally the Government saw sense and reverted to CAGs - Centre Assessment Grades with Sam getting his teacher predicted grades, rather than those manufactured by an algorithm. This improved Sams grades to a B in Maths, B in Chemistry and a C in Physics. I do believe had he sat the exams, he could have still done a little better but it is what it is and he is now going to resit his Physics in October to try and improve upon that grade. He wants to study Chemistry at Uni eventually and needed a B, so although he could have possibly got an A, he doesn't have enough time to resit 2 subjects in the October, whilst working too. The ball is now in his court to prove himself.

Jeff was happy with both his A Level and GCSE results. Results day for us is always a marker that the summer holidays are coming to an end and he needs to get back into school/work mode. He's happy to be going back to school in September. He fully embraced the 'working from home/virtual teaching'  that lockdown imposed but missed all the other bits of everyday school life, so will embrace the 'new normal' whatever that might be.

The garden is in full swing. Picked enough apples and blackberries to make a crumble....

...and today I picked the first beans.

I've enjoyed an extra day off this week, so Sophie and I braved the most horrendous rain to go visit IKEA in Exeter on Wednesday. She wanted a new office chair, as she'll be working from home initially during her placement year. Of course we enjoyed meatballs for lunch, in the most socially distanced dining spot ever!! (can you see her!?!)

On Thursday Jeff and I said goodbye to our fab little mini!

I't's been a fun car but sadly it needed too much spending on it to get it through it's MOT, so it got collected to go off for auction. Jeff and I then went car hunting on Friday morning. Basically Sam is embarrassed to have to drive the Micra, so we went looking for something he'd be happier to drive, and found a 1.4 petrol Corsa for just shy of £1000. He won't be able to drive it until October, when his current insurance policy ends but it'll give him more street cred than driving around in the Micra!

I then spent the afternoon down a complete rabbit hole, attempting to sort out the little box room. It was always intended to be my little 'creative' space but I tend to live in my corner of the kitchen. Currently it's also home to all of Sophie's Uni stuff but she wants this room to work in during her Placement Year. So I started to sort!! Found all my old dotsandspots stuff, old artwork, designs, papers etc. It's time to get rid but I'm still too attached to a lot of it and want it to go to a good home where it'll be appreciated. So I've still lots of sorting to do, deadline the 9th of September, when Sophie's placement starts.

Just a quick heads up, anyone who has followed me for a while, will know we have a Christmas chocolate tin. Currently, only until the 27th of August, Tesco have these pouches at their lowest price of £2.50. (Normal price £3.50) I put them away and forget about them until Halloween, then I take out all the chocs no one likes and give them to the 'trick or treaters' then forget about them again until December the 1st. I don't think they go down to this price again, so worth buying. 

And finally, another bargain, my Greek vase, purchased from Ikea for just £7. 
I treated myself to the sunflowers, a nod to Summer as it draws to a close.

Saturday, 15 August 2020


Today it it raining, the Tor is shrouded in mist but....

....the rest of the week was scorchio!

I was probably in the best place for a lot of it, at work with the air con on.
For once I didn't complain about how cold it was!!

 I've found the one downside of this house, is the lack of evening sun in the back garden. So Jeff and I have taken to sitting out the front, with a coffee and a book, to make the most of the warm sunshine. To be honest, no one even seems to notice we're there!

The garden has been loving the weather and ....

....the bees....

....and our self seeded 'something' is growing well....

My little fig tree is producing so much fruit.

Guess what I'm having for lunch today!?!

So it's a wet Saturday and I have a day off. Jeff's gone off to referee, Sophie's up, no sign of Sam as yet. Have been asked to do some more art work for work, so may just crack on and get that done. Sam has continued to surprise me in has calm, rational approach to his A Level results and subsequent resits. I just hope he 'puts his money where his mouth is' and he knuckles down to study hard from Monday. I don't want 7 weeks of nagging ahead x

Thursday, 13 August 2020


So Thursday the 13th and A Level Results Day. 

The year when no exams were taken due to COVID 19 and instead, teacher predicted grades were used to form your grade or you were unlucky and the algorithm used, to supposedly make the process fair, downgraded your results.

Sam was one of the unlucky ones and was downgraded from his teacher predictions in at least 2 of his subjects, we forgot to ask about the third as he was happy with that grade!!

So we have no grounds to appeal as his mock exams were terrible! He's a typical boy, didn't do anything until after the mocks, then got his head down, was working hard, would've pulled it out the bag when it came to the exams and got good grades. Instead COVID happened, in school one day studying hard, then came home having been told exams weren't happening and to STOP working there and then. He had a physics tutor at £40 a week and was working hard, on track to fulfill his potential and then whoosh, stop what you're doing!!

So we've registered for him to do the October resits, should get the grades before his UCAS application needs to be sent, late December. It'll be at the later end of applications but it'll be with the grades he gets. He was always going to have a Gap Year this year, so it'll have to delay starting until after the October resits. Thankfully his tutor is happy to help out as he won't be able to go back to school for any further teaching, unless he resits the whole year I believe.

Obviously one hopes that the Government will hold their hands up to this mess, revert to the teacher predictions and do as Scotland have done and go a little way to clearing up this huge mess. But realistically we know that will not happen. So a roller-coaster of a day, mixed bag of results and a 7 week burst of effort now to relearn everything for the October resits.

Still proud of you Sam and just sorry you've been dealt a rubbish hand xx

**EDIT As of Monday the 17th of August The Government did the sensible thing and reverted to CAGs - Centre Assessment Grades. So now Sam has his predicted teacher grades rather those manufactured by the Ofqual algorithm. Will post once confirmed by the school.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Making the most of the sunshine!

Another busy week and some decent sunshine!
On Monday we celebrated our 24th Wedding Anniversary. We didn't do anything, I actually still worked, we're saving ourselves for the big '25' next year and our trip to Greece, all being well!!

We did swap cards though x

My sister popped in en route back from Cornwall for a cuppa, socially distanced of course. 
It was lovely to have a catch up. 

Thursday was a day of errands. Sophie needed the bank so we popped over to Wells. We had birthday balloons to collect, brownies to bake and presents to wrap, for the birthday boy. 

I shared in my previous post Sam's actual birthday but after writing, we got to enjoy his birthday brownies. He'd rather have these than a cake any day!! And no candles this year, just this gigantic sparkler - good job we were able to be outside!

Sadly we had confirmation that our trip to Prague has been cancelled. Obviously we're disappointed, but Sam and I agree it's for the best and it probably wouldn't have been the Prague we were hoping to see. We'll just have to park it away for another time. Maybe we'll get to grab a few days together some time during his Gap Year to go visit, if safe to do so and of course, if he gets the results he hopes for, to have a Gap Year!!

Jeff and I made the most of the sunshine and headed back over to Burton Bradstock. We were on the beach by 9am, nearly had the place to ourselves. Jeff swam and I paddled, although could have 'possibly' been persuaded to go in, had I had my cossie! It did get busy but there was still plenty of space to keep your distance and to be fair we were gone by 2pm.

Home to a lovely alfresco tea and refreshing San Miguel!

I have to work tomorrow and Monday and Tuesday........ 
so these lovely days are there to make the most of, whilst we can x