Thursday, 19 January 2017

Plots and Plans

The first weeks of January have involved a lot of scheming in the penthouse, there are big plans for more changes.
Mr FF has been drawing up ideas for the horrible black bathroom and there has been a lot of disagreement.  I want us to retain a bath, I normally use the shower in our en suite but just now and then I feel the need for a luxurious soak. We have eventually managed to fit in everything we need by selecting a hexagonal bath, we are even toying with the idea of a steam or massage shower, and hopefully there will be plenty of space to put things down, one of my main requirements in a bathroom.
I've bought my organic marmalade oranges and will soon start the big boiling session that will scent the penthouse deliciously.
I've been daydreaming over this Christmas book, lots of lovely sock ideas that match my love of cables.  
Sadly my LYS decided while I was away to become my local sewing shop so now there is no sock wool within walking distance of home. I'm very disappointed by this but keeping an eye open for some plain 4 ply that will show off the pattern detail nicely.
New tiles arrive this week for our balcony which is presently covered with rather ugly stuff.  The porcelain tiles will match the inside steps and hopefully give the overall effect of the outside and inside being one.  Mr FF is sourcing new double glazed windows for our two bedrooms, we received listed building consent for these last year but the challenges of installing them on the top floor are huge.
Planning ahead for a summer in Italy I've bought myself some new glasses.  I was sick of either wearing sunglasses and not seeing or wearing my normal glasses and squinting.  These purple ones should solve the problem although since I bought them this week there hasn't been any sun for me to run a trial.  
So lots to firm up, lots to do, more disruption, dust and debris no doubt but it's all positive, a good start to the new year I think.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

It never fails

Retail therapy works again and I'm feeling much more positive.  I decided if I was to become a couch potato I needed to do it in style so I've binned my grotty old slippers and bought these.
Beautiful beautiful Uggs, they are solid, hug my feet in sheepskin oh so cosy and almost pass as going out footwear.  
I  thought they'd be good for wandering down to our ground floor entrance hall for the post until I got caught out this week going down for a delivery for Mr FF that needed to be signed for, I was still in my dressing gown at almost mid day. I had to load four big boxes into the glass lift then carry them into the penthouse all whilst trying to stop my dressing gown flapping open.  I don't think pricey slippers made up for that faux pas but luckily I only met one person who didn't seem to notice what I was wearing.  I am now thinking I need a smarter dressing gown that veers towards all day lounge wear, or I need to get up and dressed earlier.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


I don't know what the year will bring anymore than you do but as Liz at Love those Cupcakes said in my comments recently, there is plenty going on in the world to keep us awake at night.  Whilst I do worry about the world I also spend a lot of time thinking about what's in store for me.  I am 68 and mostly I don't feel my age.  Of course I've slowed down, the girl who ran marathons and long distance hill races is someone in my distant past, but I'm not overweight, I still walk quite a bit, keep myself flexible when I remember to bend and stretch. I cleanse and moisturise twice a day, rub more cream into my arms and legs than is necessary, I wear perfume every day and try not to go out without earrings.   Last year I read 50 books and knit enough socks to last me and Mr FF many years.   
Yet I do feel that I am slowing down, not just the walking into a room and wondering why I'm there confusion but generally feeling lethargic and without enthusiasm.  You will by now if you've read my recent Christmas bah humbug posts be shouting at the screen that I never have much enthusiasm anyway. Probably true and it may just be the time of year but I think at the back of my mind there must be some recognition of every day bringing me closer to senility. When you are in your 30s and 40s life still stretches before you, I've already outlived both my parents and some days the inevitability of old age seems too close for comfort.  Not that old age is necessarily something to dread, we have folk in this building who are in their 80s and bright as buttons, ladies and gents beautifully turned out living life to the full.  Mr FF regularly steps out on a Friday evening for a drink with John from the ground floor who is late 70s, there is a lady in her mid 80s who eats out every day of the week, taking a taxi to and from town early evening often dressed in Gucci.    
I'm fortunate and grateful that I have no great regrets about my life so far (we could have returned to Yorkshire sooner) I've always had good health and I live comfortably in a beautiful home in a town I love with all this 5 minutes walk from my front door.
As I say it may be the January blues caused by everyone being oh so positive about the new year, how they will get fit, eat less, live Danishly etc, or perhaps too many mince pies have made me sluggish.  I need to shake off this feeling and get some winter sunshine into my eyes, that always works wonder for me. I will once I've finished the mince pies,  for now feel free to give me a good talking to but please don't tell me about your new year's resolutions.

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 £.