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

Friday 7 August 2020

The boy is 18!!!

My baby is an adult!!
Where, oh where have the years gone? 
Today my baby turns 18!!

It feels like only yesterday we were bringing him home.

A much loved brother for Sophie, 
who from the moment he was born, has never left his side.

We're super proud of all his achievements so far and the young man he has become. 
Unlike his sister, he has no idea what he really wants to do next, exam results come out next week. He's hoping to enjoy a Gap Year, work and save some money, possibly travel a little before Uni..... 
Thankfully no definite plans, given this year so far, leaving his options open.


Sam - birth to 18!

Happy birthday Sam.

I wish you a lifetime of health, happiness and good times. Keep being you, the kind, well mannered, generous, caring, young man you've become. I still wonder how I produced a 6ft + gentle giant, who towers over his mother but am super proud to have you by my side.
Love you, 
Mum x

Saturday 1 August 2020

Farewell July.......

.....hello August!

Wow! How can we be in August already? 
Although I must say, the way 2020 is going, I'll be glad to see the back of it.

July whizzed on by - cancelled holiday plans freed up time to do a mural for work. It was the month that finally 'lockdown hair' could be sorted and a month when meeting up with family and friends could resume again, although still in a socially distanced way! Sophie bought her first car and I picked my first homegrown fig. Face coverings are now mandatory, which makes an 8hr shift at work fun!! (not!!) and we spent a day or two at the beach.

Granny celebrated her 97th birthday this week.

And although we were unable to be there on her 'actual' birthday, 
due to the weather being not 'socially distancing' friendly....

....we did make it down to see her 2 days later.

Making sure we stopped off at Porthtowan first, to see the sea!

My mum gave me some beautiful flowers to come home with.

On Friday the forecast was for sun, sun, sun, the hottest day of the year, so we headed to the beach for the day. We even managed to persuade Sam to join us. No mean feat, given we normally don't see him before midday! Jeff spotted Billy Bragg, I wouldn't have recognised him, he has a house there, so we made sure we socially distanced ourselves, although got a sneaky pic!! Jeff and Sam went in for a swim, I paddled and read my book - perfect.

Sophie didn't come with us. She had a 'virtual' day of meetings for her Placement Year at the ONS (Office of National Statistics) it was also Results day, she only went and got a FIRST!! Her Second Year counts towards her final degree result, unlike last year, so she is thrilled.

Jeff is a happy chappy and a man in demand, now football can resume. He spent this morning refereeing his first game and is now fully booked for the foreseeable future, wouldn't be my idea of fun but it makes him happy.

Anyway, here's to a sun filled August (I hope) 
I shall certainly be making the most of the sun when it shines.