Thursday 30 April 2020

Time to cover up

I've been to the vet's today, Heidi pussycat has started being sick again. The new system now is that you ring up, speak to the receptionist, tell her what the problem is, and she speaks to the vet. Later on she rings you back and tells you to come and pick the medication up. Pay over the phone with a card. Vet David doesn't need to see Heidi this time, and the medication is the same as she had before. 
The next step is drive to the vet, and ring when you get there. The medication is put into a basket on a chair outside the side door. Shout thank you to the receptionist. 
Vet closes at 5pm so I went at 4.15pm, to time it so I could get some cat food from Home Bargains, then get my shopping from Aldi. It worked really well. 
The town centre was dead, no one about except a security guy standing guard in the shopping mall. Two people in Home bargains so it was a quick in and out. 
At Aldi there were five people waiting to go in, only took a few minutes before it was my turn. The shop was not busy, plenty of room to move about. Not at all stressful. 
I made myself a mask so I thought I would give it a try. I put it on in my car before I went into Aldi. I was the only person with a mask on. 
I followed the instructions but found the elastic around the ears doesn't work very well when you wear glasses and a hearing aid, so I got two pieces of Velcro and attached them to the elastics so it fastens at the back of my head. I turned a hem over at the top and inserted a piece of wire which can be bent to fit the bridge of your nose. 

It's difficult to stop the glasses misting up. I wore it the whole time I was there. It's two layers of cotton, didn't put a filter inside because it would have made it difficult to breath. Not medical grade of course, but it made me feel better knowing I had some kind of barrier over my mouth and nose. Better than nothing at all I thought. I shall wear it again. 
We've had notice that our Village Summer Fair has been cancelled. Understandable but a shame because it's a big charitable fund raising event. 
Don't forget, it's check in day for the International Walking Group members tomorrow. Let us know how you are doing. I'm going out now to get one last walk in, two miles around the village. 
Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas on the previous post on how you entertain yourselves at home. 
Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip. ilona

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Home entertainment.

Hello my little bloggerettes. Carrying on from yesterday, some more thoughts crossed my mind about happiness, and how to achieve it. We are swamped with doom and gloom, and a lot of negative press, it's no wonder that people are feeling down. There isn't much to look forward to at the moment, but hang on a minute, there are ways we can uplift our mood and brighten our days. After all, we are still here, and we shouldn't lose sight of every day is a bonus.

Reading the news, watching the TV, listening to the radio, it's enough to make you cry. My tip is to not watch the TV, not listen to the radio, and be very selective about what I read. I don't need to know everything that is happening in the world. I skim read headlines, I wear blinkers, I scroll on by, and only read what I am interested in. Most it will be of no benefit to me. My brain will only take in so much. A lot of news is like junk food, it's bad for me, and I don't want to consume it.

I like to think about the food I am going to make for myself, how I am going to look forward to eating it, and to make time to enjoy it. I eat slowly savouring every mouthful. I think about my meal as being a treat, that I am making something nice for myself. I like the fact that I know what is in it.

This afternoon I filled the bath up with hot water, and gave it a generous splash of fragranced bodywash. I put some music on, and ate chocolate, while I enjoyed a soak in it. I had a lovely warm glow after a brisk rub down with a rough towel. Gave myself a pedicure, cut toenails and smothered feet in moisturiser. Fringe trimmed, hair washed, and face exfoliated and moisturised. Now feel like a million dollars. Why not treat yourself to a pamper day in your own bathroom.

Here's an idea, if you have a partner, have a date night at home. Make a special meal, get dressed up, open a bottle of plonk, soft lights and music to get you in the mood. You never know what might happen after that, nudge nudge wink wink.

There you are some tips and tricks to enjoy your days at home. Let's have some more. Tell us what you do to enjoy your time indoors. Share your ideas. Card games, board games, computer games anyone? What about switching the TV off and actually talking to each other. That could be interesting.
I'll leave it with you. Toodle pip.  ilona

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Naturally sunny

Hello. Barbara asked a question...
I will reply here. She asks have I any tips and/or tricks for keeping morale up, or am I naturally a sunny person? I have probably touched on some of this before, I wrote about changing a negative to a positive in 2018, here is a link. I also made a video about it, link included in the post.

Another link to a post touching on the subject, from 2016. Ten good reasons why...

And a third link to another post in 2016, Cheer up it might never happen.  These all come under the sub headings of Reflections on life and Observations, which you will find on the side bar.

So, I will add a bit more to this as Barbara is asking for tips and tricks on keeping morale up. Will try not to lecture, scroll on if you are not interested.

EMOTIONS. We are all dominated by them, If we didn't have emotions our lives would be meaningless. We would have no purpose, and no direction. There are a range of emotions, fear, anger, love, hate, and sadness. I can dilute my emotions, I try to keep them in check, because to give in to them means things can go horribly wrong. People say you should not hold back on your emotions, I say they can be controlled.

To a certain extent I have a tough outer shell, and a squishy soft centre. Most of the time I let nothing penetrate my hard exterior. Some of the time my softer emotions  will catch me off balance, and I can be a sentimental softy. Not about my own life because that is sorted, but when I see the emotions of other people, how they struggle, what makes them sad or happy, that can have an effect on my emotions. I wish I could do more to help, to heal their pain.

FEAR can diminish morale, if you let it. I am fearful that I may not have time to complete all I want to do. I don't waste time thinking about what I have missed out on, but rather think about living in the now, not in the past. I look forward with optimism.

ANGER can be a destructive force. Someone who is angry for a lot of the time are denying themselves a happy life. I don't get angry, I cannot have a row with anyone. You might see me sometimes publish a troll comment so I can reply. I will let it go on for a while so I can say my piece, but then I delete it because it's a waste of time. I am not responsible for someone else's anger, it's their problem.

LOVE is another emotion I keep in check. It has wafted in and out of my life over the years, but because of my reluctance to take responsibility for someone else's life, or allow someone else to be responsible for me, it's fairer for both parties that we go our separate ways.

HATE is another destructive emotion. When you hate someone you only hurt yourself, so there is no point. Hate and anger go hand in hand, I don't see any of that in myself. I feel a little bit hurt if someone hates me, or is angry with me, but it's out of my control to do something about it. Their destructive behaviour belongs to them, not me.

SADNESS can be debilitating. It is natural to be sad, natural to have a good cry, oh how I have cried in the past. It needs to be kept in check though. Prolonged bouts of sobbing could mean an underlying illness, and should be checked out with a doctor.

Tips and Tricks, this is what I do. Be dogmatic, be determined that no one is going to screw up my life. As I have said before I take full responsibility for myself. There are things going on in the world which I have no control over. Kicking and screaming, cursing and swearing, crying and moaning, or punching someone will not make one iota of difference.

Practical things I can do. Change my routine to include an element of surprise. We all have a tendency to follow our little routines every day. Get up, ablutions, have a drink, eat a meal, go to bed, life can become a bit boring, if you let it. I have a little voice inside telling me to jiggle things around a bit, change the order I do things. If I am hungry I eat, not hungry, don't eat. I might swap breakfast for lunch, or have a bowl of cereals at night. I vary the times I go for a walk, depending on what I feel like doing.

Yesterday morning I imagined I was on holiday. The open fields, the tracks I was walking, the sunshine, the quietness, the solitude. Being outside in nature is empowering to me. What might have seemed a boring walk to some people, I imagined it to be a little adventure. It's times like the present when it helps to have an vivid imagination.

Naturally sunny person? Yes I am. I am able to think myself happy, because I can see no point in being anything else. It is widely said that simplicity is the key to a happy life, and as I get older I am shedding all my complications. I mostly see things in black or white.

Enough, now I'm rambling for the sake of it. I hope that everyone can find a way round this dilemma, find a way to cope with uncertainty, and not dwell on the negative aspects, but look for the positives.
Thanks to Barbara for the question. Thanks to everyone for popping in.
Now one last thing to say. I am not trained in psychology or mental health. This is how I see things. There is a rook of help out there for people who are struggling with life.
Breakfast now. Toodle pip.  ilona

Monday 27 April 2020

Just another day

Hello Guys and Gals. I thought it was going to be a wet weather day today, after the rain yesterday, but it wasn't. It started gloomy but brightened up, and the sun came out. I thought I had better get my walk in early, just in case the rain came down again. It didn't and I had a lovely walk. Same route as normal, past the windfarm. I made a couple of videos but have deleted them, they were rubbish. So here is the one photo I took. Activity at one of the turbines, zoomed in because they are a fair distance away. The blades were hardly moving as there was no wind. 
Big open spaces again, seems Monday morning is a good time to go for a walk. Didn't see anybody. Sat on a bench and ate my buttered hot cross bun, which was actually a cold cross bun. 
My lunch today. I steamed extra potatoes yesterday so today I put them in a pan with some mushrooms and some whole grain rice which I opened a couple of days ago. I get three portions out of a packet, it's fine stored in the fridge. When it was cooked I broke an egg into it. Served with iceberg lettuce.

I've given up cooking rice from scratch, this is more convenient when I want a quick meal. Aldi have quite a good selection now.

Only three days left till the end of April, then it's check in time for the walking group members. This month has flown by. I don't think we will be forgetting April 2020 in a hurry.
Nothing else to report, hello to the new followers, thanks for popping in. I'll sign off. Toodle pip.  ilona

Sunday 26 April 2020

Getting there.

A progress report. This is how it was a week or two ago.

This is how it is now. Still more to do, no plan, just keep adding spirals until I think it's got enough.

It's keeping me busy. It's good to have a project on the go, I am having fun.
Catch ya soon. Toodle pip.  ilona

Saturday 25 April 2020

A question.

Not much to write about today. Sewing, trimmed a hedge, took Billy dog a walk.

Kim asked a question so I'll answer it here.

I love your summer house. Do you have any posts or videos about you building it?

There is a link under the header, How I built my summerhouse. Click on that, or click on this, it opens up a separate page with lots of photo's, from when I started to when it was finished.

Link to the blog post about the Open Gardens village event in 2017.

This video is from 2015.

An updated video from 2018.

There you go Kim, It took a while to build it so I don't have a video from start to finish, because I am no good at editing videos. I hope these links give you the info you are looking for. Happy to answer further questions. Thanks for asking.

Toodle pip.  ilona

Friday 24 April 2020

A 'happy to stay at home' day.

It's been a gorgeous day, I took my sewing outside and sat with my back to the sun. I emptied the washing basket and put it all in the machine. Two pairs of socks, 19 pairs of pants, 3 towels, 2 pairs of joggy bottoms, 1 t-shirt, 1 scarf, and 1 fleecy top. I mowed the lawn the other day and already there is a bumper crop of dandelions coming up. 
The birds are looking for food at the moment, I had some yellow sticker crusty bread which I bought for 10p six months ago. Chuck it on the lawn, they will find it.

 I sat outside with my lunch on a tray. Some of it was left overs from last nights dinner, I made too much. The cheese and humous sandwich is fresh, plus three crackers. It's wine weekend this weekend.

Do you like my huge Christmas baubles. I bought two large golden balls from the Scrapstore a few months ago, found the ideal place to hang them. They shine when the sun catches them, they shine even when there is no sun. 
My cosy den. I dozed off in there this afternoon while listening to the birds twittering. The flower beds have filled out nicely, some colour coming into the garden.

Friday night is usually when the teenagers gather in groups around the village. I don't expect to see any when I go for my walk in half an hour. One of the plus sides of this lockdown is no litter. They are not going to the shop to buy food and drink then leaving their bottles and cans all around the village, not going to the takeaway and chucking half their curry and chips on the street, and not driving to the fast food outlets at the retail park then tossing the wrappings out of the window on the way home. It's great, we have a clean village.
Happy weekend everyone. Toodle pip.  ilona

Thursday 23 April 2020


Isn't it amazing how a massive field can be ploughed in perfect straight lines. I passed this today on my five mile walk, and stopped to admire the sheer perfection of it. I suspect there are spuds planted as the furrows were quite deep. I would love to have a go at this. Maybe make it a bit arty with some wavy lines. 

Over there behind the ploughed field is a pond, and in the distance is the council tip. Picture is a tad grainy, I zoomed in.

There was a nice sunset tonight. It had almost gone when I caught sight of it. I took a snap from the bedroom window.

It's been another warm day today, a shorts on kind of day. I enjoyed being outside, sat on the memorial bench and ate a choccy biscuit. Time for bed now. Goodnight.  ilona

Warning, angry person.

Angry people are everywhere. A post popped up on a textile art page I follow, with a picture of a young lady wearing a pretty dress, holding a felted bag she made. She is wearing a red mask  which matches her boots and coat. Her introduction.....

We need to get used to wearing a face mask!
A gorgeous silk and wool dress with a little scarf and my Colourful Landscape pattern bag.

Comment from an angry person...….

NO - we need governments to do their jobs and PROTECT their citizens by coming up with vaccines. A mask is a temporary fix - not a FUCK.I.n.g. fashion accessory.I am so sick of people profiting off a pandemic. Despicable!

Another comment....

Face masks are obligatory in many countries and I would happily pay someone to make one for me, rather than not have one or use up supplies that were better used by healthcare workers. Lighten up 

Where does this end, or is it going to get worse. The young lady is not selling the mask by the way, she is modelling her bag. The photograph was taken in a public place, she is wearing the mask  because she has to.

Going out for a walk. Toodle pip.  ilona

Wednesday 22 April 2020


Hooooray, I got my banking done. Tried to find out the opening times before I went to see if the branch was actually open. Drew a blank on the web site, Tweeted them, automated reply telling me nothing, rang on the phone, several menu's to choose, nothing relevant to the question of what times are you open, I gave up. I took a chance and went there.

Ten people waiting in a long line across the street, half an hour later I got to the front and was called inside. They said no counter service, and directed me to the automatic tills on the wall. I said I have never used them before, so a staff member had to do the pressing of the buttons for me. We both stepped backwards and forwards, he asked me to check some numbers on the screen. The numbers were right but the amount he had keyed in was incorrect, even bank people get it wrong. More stepping to one side and checking. I don't fancy going through that again, I will have to find other ways of doing what I want to do.

Then I drove to Aldi, round the corner, and into the car park. A long queue to get in the door. I drove straight back out again. Not waiting there. Then I remember that my last experience of shopping at the small Tesco wasn't too bad, so I went there.

Not many people in, mostly just picking up a few items. I got what I wanted, following the one way system, not supposed to double back if you have missed something. Staff were busy putting stock on the shelves and one aisle was blocked by a trolley, so I had to go round that. I made my way down the last aisle towards the checkouts.

I looked at the beer thinking I might get a bottle, when the woman in front of me turned round and said, 'they are there for a reason', and looked at the floor. I looked down and noticed that I wasn't standing on the blue spot. I apologised and stepped back onto it. I felt well and truly told off, I said 'this is stressful'. The man behind me said, 'not as stressful as getting corvid 19'.

When it was my turn I stepped forward, I passed my shopping to the girl on the till. She said, 'can you step back please'. I was 12 inches over the line. She told me the total and I reached forward to hand her a £20 note. I never liked shopping much anyway, I like it even less now. I can see why people are getting home deliveries.

I was glad to get home. Spose I'll get the hang of it eventually. I am a slow learner and will probably make mistakes along the way. Don't make my mistakes peoples, look down on the floor. I'm not looking forward to the next shopping trip.

Toodle pip.  ilona

Tuesday 21 April 2020

Wide berth

Good morning. We were up early. Mayze slept with me on the bed last night. Oscar came in late and headed upstairs to bed, but I had to stop him because Mayze was already there. They still don't get on, but that's Mayze's fault, she was here first so she likes to think she is the boss of the household. Oscar slept on a chair in the living room. 
Looks like it's going to be another nice day, I like waking up with the sunshine streaming in, it makes me feel invigorated and ready for another new day. 
Yesterday I did one of my five mile walks out into the countryside. Must take every opportunity to get some sunshine on my body. There are some lovely trees in full blossom at the moment.
Walking along a track alongside the turf fields, I saw a rainbow. The spray from that water fountain projects it a long way. I could feel the mist landing on my head from quite a distance away. Had to wait for the whirly thing to change direction.

Aaahhh, there it is, I knew I saw a rainbow.

Oh dear, here we go again. Another fresh pile of garbage dumped in the ditch. The farmer has dug this out to assist the free flow of water from the top of the fields down to the river. Now the drainage is blocked by mostly empty beer bottles and other household rubbish. The trouble is that the tarmac access road to the windfarm has no barriers because farmers need to drive their equipment up and down. People come late at night and use it as a dumping ground. 
There was a slight breeze yesterday but still warm. Ideal conditions for a walk. The only thing which spoilt it was coming across a group of young men blocking the tarmac track having a kickabout with a football. Another consequence of not having gates. There must have been about twelve of them, and four parked cars. I approached with caution, a walker coming towards me five minutes earlier had warned me about them. He said he had walked through them. 
I had two options, avoid them by walking across a field to my right, giving them a wide berth, but that wasn't fair to flatten the newly seeded and growing crop. There was no way I was going to walk through the men, no thank you, I don't want to be anywhere near them. So I veered off to the left and went into the woods, scrambling over brambles. It's a good job I had trousers on and not my shorts which I had on last week. I continued through the woods until I was well past them, then came back down onto the track again. 
No they are not supposed to be meeting up for a football game, but what can you do, it is happening all over the place. All I can do is keep well clear of them. As I came towards the end of the tarmac  track a tractor came by me towing a machine. He was headed that way, so I hope he sorted them out. 
Now it's time for breakfast, porridge I think will do nicely. A trip to town is needed sometime this week, I will make a third attempt to go to the bank. That will happen maybe tomorrow or Thursday. All this planning is giving me a headache. I like to do things on the spur of the moment, but now some thought has got to be put into where we can go, and the best day and time to do what we need to do. 
Tattybyes for now. ilona

Sunday 19 April 2020

Garden chores.

Just a quick one, I've had a busy day. An update on the denim spirals, this is the state of play so far. Coming along nicely. I could have done with more colours really, but I think it will still turn out ok. More spirals to add. 
So how has my day gone. Sewing this morning. It's been a lovely sunny day, so out onto the garden. Trimmed up the hedge in the front garden. Stepped on some cat poo, my what a stink. I know where that came from, I saw Heidi do it. Should have remembered where it was. Washed the car. Mowed the lawns in the back garden. I will mow the lawn in the front another time. So altogether, I got a lot done. Just eaten a portion of a three day stew I made in the pan, plenty for two more meals, so no cooking tomorrow. Now going to make a phone call before I do a walk around the village in the dark. Catch ya tomorrow. Toodle pip.  ilona

Lockdown in Canada

Another new day, another new start. The sun is shining.

Not another darn video to watch. Yes, but only if you want to. Posting a video is my way of saying can't be arsed to write a lot of words. Scroll on by if you can't be arsed to watch.

I've just found this chappie who lives in his van in Canada. The scenery is stunning as you would expect, he is chatty, he has a gorgeous dog, and he speaks from the heart.

Time for breakfast, and think about what I am going to do with my day.
Toodle pip.  ilona

Friday 17 April 2020

Doesn't seem right somehow.

There are so many inconsistencies about what we can and can't do, where we can go, and can't go. The rules are changing and we have to try and keep up with it all so we don't fall foul of the law. So we do the best for ourselves, and the best for other people. It seems there are differences  in policing depending where you live.

Take a look at this article in The Western Journal, scroll down and watch the video. See how the police look like they have come over from Russia, body armour, puffed up chests full of intimidating electronic gadgets, trousers tucked into boots, look at their clothing. Look at their aggression, look at their anger when confronted by someone who is trying to have a conversation with them. See how they don't practice social distancing as they bear down on the journalist trying to do his job. This is really frightening stuff. I would be crying if anyone spoke to me like that.

Now look at this picture of clapping last night on Westminster Bridge, still taken from a video, it's out there if you want to look for it.

No social distancing there, the police are actually joining in with it. Police vehicles parked all along the roadside, blue lights flashing. looks like a party atmosphere to me. So why aren't they breaking up this crowd and telling them to go home. Different rules for different situations. I can't see this ending well.
Toodle pip.  ilona

PS. I have just found this. Document from the National Police Chiefs Council.
Study it hard, you might be able to enlarge the text, or squint to see it.
There are three columns. Likely to be reasonable, Not likely to be reasonable, and Comments. It covers necessities, exercise, work, and other reasons.

Things which might will affect me.

Including: going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga. Walking in the countryside or in cities. Attending an allotment.
Exercise can come in many forms, including walks. Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise. However, a very short period of ‘exercise’ to excuse a long period of inactivity may mean that the person is not engaged in ‘exercise’ but in fact something else. NOPE, CAN'T DRIVE FOR FOUR HOURS THEN EXERCISE FOR ONE HOUR THEN DRIVE FOUR HOURS BACK.
It is lawful to drive for exercise.
Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving). YEP.

Driving for a prolonged period with only brief exercise.

Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk. YES YOU CAN DO THAT.
A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period. NOPE> NOT EXERCISE.
Exercising more than once per day - the only relevant consideration is whether repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home.

Takes a bit of working out, sorry it's a bit mixed up, that's copy and pasting for you. Refer to the original document.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Fields of yellow

It's been a week since I last did this walk. A lot can happen in a week, the fields are now all yellow, in every direction. Massive, humungous, really big fields of oilseed rape. I like yellow. 
Wide track, easy walking. Two people were coming towards me, I went through the hedge into the next field to avoid them.

I had ten minutes sitting on the bench.

I went to town yesterday. Went to the bank. It was 1pm. When I went last time it was later and I missed them because they closed at 2pm. Today there was a notice on a board outside the door. they are now closing at 12 midday. Missed them again. How flippin annoying. Why do they keep changing the times. Still not been able to pay a cheque into my account, and wasn't able to pay my water bill either. 
I went to our little pop up post office in the church this morning and paid the water bill. The Post Office make a charge for this. Would have been cheaper to send a cheque in the post. 
Two more bills landed on my door mat this morning. Utilities, and Credit Card. Will pay them next week. 
I see we have got more lockdown coming our way. Best get on with it then. More of the same. Gardening, sewing, computering, walking, shopping. 
Toodle pip.  ilona

Wednesday 15 April 2020

Stitching as therapy.

In times of darkness we have summer. Yesterday was glorious sunshine so I did my usual five mile walk. The ground is now covered in green, hiding the ugliness of litter. Carpets of wild garlic and pools of bluebells. Two hours of birdsong, wrapped in a warm glow. Food for the soul.  

I made this video yesterday and uploaded it while I went a walk. 18 minutes long. I hope you like it.

I was up early this morning, a beautiful sunrise emerged behind the trees. A new day of hope. Now I'm going to get my breakfast, and plan what I am going to do. Must go to the bank, been putting it off, but now it is time.
Thanks for popping in. We'll meet again. Toodle pip.  ilona

PS. If anyone is interested. I have 29 videos on another channel. When I first started uploading to yooootooob the name Meanqueen was already taken, so I changed the spelling to Meenkween. If you type that into the search box on yoootooob at the top of the page, you may find videos that you haven't seen before. Or, try this link. 

Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Keyboard Wizzard.

Breakfast with Terry, this morning. He does a live stream on yooootoooob every day at 5pm, which doesn't work very well for me, probably due to a poor broadband signal. So I watch it several hours after, at my convenience.

Terry has an Analogue Corner feature, where he plays five keyboards at the same time. He produces some amazing sounds. If a singer needs a backing group, Terry can do the whole lot by himself. He really should be in a recording studio backing some of the top vocalists in the world. Or else, he should be on the X Factor or Britain's Got Talent. He surely would get the audience to their feet, clapping and dancing along to his playing.

If you don't watch the whole video, I recommend that you scroll along the slide bar at the bottom to 15.30 minutes, to catch Fanfare to the Common Man. It is pure genius. What a talent.

Looking like the weather has picked up again, sunny this morning. I didn't do my exercise walk yesterday, too cold, and was busy indoors. It looks like a five miler might be on the cards for today. Going to delay the town visit till tomorrow. The day after a bank holiday might mean more people about, maybe quieter tomorrow. I really want to keep my distance from everyone.

I'll leave it with you, be grateful that we have another day to fill. Toodle pip.  ilona

Monday 13 April 2020

Making it up.

Good morning on Easter Monday. So what will you be doing today. I have a new Crafty Club to attend, it's in my living room and I am the only member. This is what I am working on. I have cords, plenty of them, mostly from the Scrapstore and some I have collected. I am making spirals and stitching them onto a denim background. I have no plan, just making it up as I go along. See where the journey takes me. It's a bit dull outside so I will carry on with this for a while longer and see if it brightens up later. 
The view from my window. Look at the roof of my car, it's filthy. I ought to give it a wash. Maybe I will today, or tomorrow, or the next day. Having a new car and not being able to drive it, has sort of taken the shine off it, literally.

A couple of pictures from a walk last week. The memorial bench surrounded by fields which I have mentioned before. Nice to see someone is looking after it. New fresh flowers in the vases, and a dog bowl has appeared tied to the leg of the bench. Can't think that someone would pinch it but you never know. The grass in front of it, to the field edge, has been mown. Someone must have brought a hand mower up here on a trolley, it's half a mile from the road. 
Hidden behind the bench are bottles of water to fill up the bowl. How kind.

All this mooching about the house is making me lazy, it's not good to have no structure to the day. I have to make myself busy because if I don't, and do nothing, I think what a waste of a day that was. Time is ticking on, the years are flying by, and whatever time I have got left, won't be enough.

I find myself looking forward to the daily exercise walk, thinking about when in the available 18 hours a day I will be taking it. I sleep for six hours, sometimes stretch it to seven, I can't lounge in bed any longer than that, it gives me a headache. Three meals a day takes up three hours. Two hours on the computer in the morning, and another two at night. That makes seven hours, plus one or two hours for a walk, eight or nine hours. That's another nine hours to fill.

There's housework and gardening and being a slave to the cats, and arty crafty stuff to make. Best get up off this chair and do something then.
Toodle pip.  ilona

Saturday 11 April 2020

Wot I did today

So I put a chair outside the back door in the sunshine, sit down for ten minutes while I drink my coffee, then get up and immediately Mayze decided that she would rather like to lie there. 
I suppose that's one way of making yourself comfortable.

It's been a lovely day again. I started a new textile picture sat at the outdoor work table, nice working with the sun on my back. Doing something with coloured cord on a denim background. The big black frame is too big and bulky to work on outdoors. I need to have all the bits and bobs handy for that so it's best that I work on that indoors.

I wasn't going to go shopping till next week, but then thought it might be a good idea to go to the small Tesco convenience store in the next village, so I got in my car and went there at 3pm. Park outside the door and straight in. It wasn't busy, a one way system marked out on the floor, and everyone keeping their distance. I used my own bag to carry the shopping round, and emptied it at the checkout.

It went quite well, I might go there again. The only downside is that as it's a small shop there is less choice, and some things are more expensive. But I can put up with that for the time being if it means I don't have to queue, and I don't come into contact with lots of people. It's a small supermarket in a village so only locals go.

I did a walk around the village this afternoon, shouted hello across the road to a few people. Two little girls on bikes had found the stuffed hearts I planted last night, they had one each. I'm not sure if there are any left.

Amar Latif has posted another short video on Twitter. He is home now, and has shaved his big bushy beard off. I thought it suited him. He describes his stay in hospital, and how dedicated the nursing staff are. At the end of the video his final message is please stay at home. I am so relieved to see him looking a lot better. His voice is still croaky but you can tell he still has the fighting spirit in him. I won't put a link to the second video because I don't think the last one worked for people who aren't on Twitter.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring, it's Easter Sunday, As long as it's sunny and we can go outside that's ok. I never go out anywhere on a bank Holiday anyway.
Keep your pecker up.  ilona

This will be good. A concert for the whole world.

One not to miss.
Music For Hope LIVE - April 12th 10am LA | 1pm NYC | 6pm UK | 7pm CET

On Easter Sunday (April 12, 2020), by invitation of the City and of the Duomo cathedral of Milan, Italian global music icon Andrea Bocelli will give a solo performance representing a message of love, healing and hope to Italy and the world. Watch live at 10am LA, 1pm NYC, 6pm UK, 7pm CET at

“On the day in which we celebrate the trust in a life that triumphs, I’m honored and happy to answer ‘Sì’ to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan. I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now. Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth’s pulsing heart, this wonderful international forge that is reason for Italian pride. The generous, courageous, proactive Milan and the whole of Italy will be again, and very soon, a winning model, engine of a renaissance that we all hope for. It will be a joy to witness it, in the Duomo, during the Easter celebration which evokes the mystery of birth and rebirth” Andrea Bocelli Catch ya later. ilona

Friday 10 April 2020

Take my heart

I thought I might go to Aldi today, but have put it off till next week. I have enough food in the freezer. I need to go to the bank, it's closed today, I forgot all about it being Good Friday, until my nephew reminded me last night on the phone. So that will wait till next week as well. 
It's been a lovely sunny day, my lunch on a tray eaten outside. I steamed extra potatoes yesterday so they went in a pan with a drop of oil and seasoning for a few minutes, with an egg chucked in as well. Iceberg lettuce and beetroot made a nice meal, and I opened a can of berry fruit cider. Perfect dining outside. 
I had an idea to hang a few hearts on the trees on the village green, they might make people smile.  When I go out later tonight I'm going to hang them in the dark under the street lights, and hope nobody sees me.

It's been deathly quiet all around me. I feel sad for the children who cannot play with their friends in their gardens. Must be difficult to keep little ones entertained all the time. When I spoke to my nephew last night he said he is enjoying home schooling his three little girls. They all sit round the dining room table and do the work allocated to them from the school. They are learning how to look after their clothes, the housework, keeping their rooms tidy, and he's getting them involved with meal preparation. They had a walk to granny's as their daily exercise but had to stay in the garden while granny spoke to them through the window. He seems pretty clued up about how to keep them occupied. My nephew is a very caring person.

I'm just going to go outside and do half an hour of weeding before it gets dark.
Toodle pip.  ilona

Thursday 9 April 2020

When it's someone you know.

I am in shock. I turned the computer back on tonight as I sat down to eat my dinner, and checked  some of my favourite sites. As I was scrolling through Twitter a familiar face came up on the screen. Amar Latif who I have mentioned several times in the past posted a tweet from his hospital bed. I couldn't believe what I was seeing and hearing. This is a man who is totally blind, who is a big strapping fella, who has risen to every challenge that has come his way, and he almost died from the Coronavirus.

I don't know how to post his video here. Copied and pasted the link, don't know if it will work.

Copy and paste it into your computer, it may not work if you are not on Twitter.
I have just tested the link, it works for me. 

He had the symptoms for a week at home, then was taken to Leeds Infirmary where he has been for six days. He is struggling to talk, and is still coughing. He thought his life was going to end in the hospital. The message he gives is don't be bored at home, you are still alive. He is hoping to go home today or tomorrow.

Thank goodness he appears to be getting over it, I hope he makes a full recovery. Amar is on the TV at the moment, in a series filmed in October, about a pilgrimage trek he did with some other people. On tonight I believe.

This is one of the blog posts I wrote about him, posted last year.

Please be careful where you go if you need to go out. Keep a good distance away from people. Never mind the two metre thing, it's not enough. Stay safe.

Filling time

It's happened again. Every time I get started on another project I get distracted and start playing around with something else. I am gathering bits and bobs for the next assemblage. Looking in all my boxes of stuff for suitable things to stick onto that big black box I painted yesterday. I found some small plastic bottles which have fabric dye in them, just the job, they will fit in just fine. But what to do with the dye. 
I might as well splash it about and see what happens. So I got some cotton curtain linings and half a bed sheet and laid them out on the work table outside. Sprayed some water on so the colours would run into each other. No planning, this is the result. 

I quite like the way the colours have merged. Perhaps use them for the backgrounds of my future art projects. Maybe add embroidery. It's good to experiment.

Now I have washed the little bottles and can get on with the assemblage. That's if I don't get distracted by something else. Looks a good day for a walk I am thinking, Oh here I go again, what to do next. Maybe I could fit in a walk, and do something arty as well, if I have time. How are you filling your day? I have plenty of things to do to fill mine.
Toodle pip.  ilona

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Breakfast with Jonathan.

Anyone remember Jonathan and Charlotte on Britain's Got Talent, they were one of the best auditions I have ever seen, along with Susan Boyle. I love it when people get up on that stage and give a belting performance despite shaking with nerves. I never watch the whole programme but cherry pick the bits I want to watch on yooootoooob.

Seventeen years old when he was first discovered, look at him now.

What a change from the frightened young man who was only there because his friend Charlotte was by his side. So full of confidence.

The words of the song are so poignant right now.
There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone
Here they talked of revolution
Here it was they lit the flame
Here they sang about tomorrow
And tomorrow never came.
From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
And I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lowly barricade..
At dawn.
Oh my friends, my friends forgive me.
That I live and you are gone
There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Phantom faces at the window
Phantom shadows on the floor
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more.
Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more
Remembering those workers who have died through helping others.
Look after yourselves.  ilona xxx

Tuesday 7 April 2020

I've been framed.

It's been a smashing day for working outside. I had a bit of woodwork to see to. This is a large picture frame which already had a back on it, but I wanted to turn it the other way round and put the back, on the front, but the piece of hardboard wasn't big enough. Luckily I collect useful pieces of wood and boards, and found a piece which needed trimming. So now this back to front frame becomes a shallow box which will be just right for an assemblage. Not sure what I am going to put into it, but something will appear eventually. 
This frame was a canvas, I ripped it off and will now put a hardboard back on it.

And the small shallow box I made last week out of two canvases now has a white undercoat on it.

Lunch was eaten outside in the sunshine. A perfect day for hanging out in the garden. The neighbours on both sides of me are singlies like me and are very quiet, I could hear some families further up the road enjoying their back gardens.

Now I'm going to do my two mile exercise walk around the village. Toodle pip.  ilona

Monday 6 April 2020

All alone am I.

You have seen where I walk in the daytime, now have a look at where I walk at night. This was my Saturday night walk, I went out just after 9pm to do two miles. The weather was warmish, and it was very quiet. I saw one other person, also walking.

The weather is nice again today so I did my usual five mile walk. Stopped at the halfway point, sat on a bench and ate a custard tart washed down with orange juice.

Saw one couple coming towards me, I know them and they walk this route regularly. I cut the corner of the field to keep out of their way. We waved and said hello.

On the road past the windfarm there was an elderly couple ahead of me, toddling along with their walking sticks. I didn't want to catch them up so I slowed up a bit. Towards us came a family, mum dad, two kids and dog. Elderly couple stopped to say hello to them, but they decided to chat for a few minutes. This stopped me dead because they were in my way. I stood waiting and they realised they were blocking my path so they stepped to one side, still chatting. I passed by giving them a wide berth. There was a car heading towards us, it had stopped, then carried on. It was the lady who comes to see to her horses. We both waved like mad as she slowly drove by.

When I got back to the village, a bit of side stepping and crossing the road to avoid people. All done with good humour. You know how it is when someone comes towards you and you don't know whether to go to the left or the right. Two ladies walking and I did a dance to the left, we all laughed. The logistics of going for a walk has never been so complicated. Stop, slow down, wait, left or right, which way are they going to go. Like a game of chess, trying to work out what the other one is going to do.

This way of walking is becoming routine now, it's beginning to feel normal. I am sure I will be taking the same precautions when we are allowed to go further afield. A lot of it is common sense, keep away from people, for my own safety.
Toodle pip.  ilona

Sunday 5 April 2020

The Meanqueen Sewing Bee.

The sewing machine has been busy these last couple of days. One bed quilt finished. It was partially made up, I had to trim the edges and sew the binding on, and a bit of quilting to hold it all together. It's not perfect but it's now usable. I made a quilt for myself once, and said that was the first and last time I would do that. It's not something I enjoy doing. There is another topper like this, all pink and flowers, waiting to be made into a quilt. I will make a start on it when I am in the mood. 
Another job I've had hanging around for a while is cutting up a duvet and making pet beds. This is now done, all recycled materials. I have twelve to sell on our cat rescue stall. These can also be used as seat cushions. Hoping that our Village Fair goes ahead at the end of June. Who knows, we shall see.
I've been out in the summer house today, fell asleep in the chair. Also done a bit of gardening, hedge trimming and weeding. Keep busy everyone. Toodle pip.  ilona 

Saturday 4 April 2020

Warning - if swearing offends you, don't watch

A friend sent me this, pissing myself laughing.

C'mon folks, the sun is out, it's the weekend. I am partying in my own back garden. Stay safe.
Toodle pip.  Ilona xxx

Friday 3 April 2020

When will it end?

Something on my mind. People around me are talking about having a big party when it all ends, a street party, or even bigger, on the playing field. I know it's nice to think about such things, to plan what to do when the veil is lifted and we can all go back to doing what we want to do. But my gut feeling is that we can't go back, this is a life changing situation that we are in. It's a wake up call telling us that we all have to take more responsibility for our own lives, and in many cases responsibility for other people's lives.

The question I ask is how will we know when the lockdown is ended? Are people waiting for the announcement from government saying that's it all clear, back to how we were. Well it ain't going to happen. The Coronavirus won't suddenly disappear one day, we won't wake up one morning and heave a sigh of relief thinking thank goodness for that, now we can start living again.

My logical mind tells me it will be a gradual process which could take place over a whole year. After this wake up call I for one will want to distance myself from other humans as much as I can. I will select the friends that I wish to stay in touch with. I will want to know something about their backgrounds, and I will be cautious about allowing new friends into my life. If this sounds a bit anti social so be it, it is my way of taking personal responsibility for myself. I am a friendly sort, I like chatting, but I will be more careful in future.

I don't think a party is appropriate for celebrating the end, whenever that will be. I will remember all the deaths, all the lives that the virus has claimed, all the families that will be grieving, and all those who have lost their jobs and have to make a new start. I just hope that people can pull through. I for one will be grateful that I am still alive, if I am still alive.
Look after yourselves.  ilona xxx

Thursday 2 April 2020

If you fancy a fruity treat.........

Now look what you've done flis, got me back on banana sandwiches again. I had forgotten all about them until you mentioned them yesterday. I bought bananas and bread, so this was my breakfast. The little pot of scrumptious cider apple jelly was in a box of mixed preserves I had for Christmas. I must say it was a delicious accompaniment to the banana. I might look for a bigger jar of this when I next go shopping. 
My walk today. I made a video but the wind was so loud it was drowning out my voice, so I deleted  it. Oil seed rape is coming along. It was sunny and quite warm, but windy.

I've been playing with this. I made the box with two canvases I got out of a skip. I stripped the naff  pictures off them, nailed them together, and put a back on it to make a shallow box. I have an idea, but there is a problem, it is quite heavy, will need a strong hook to hang it on the wall. Will have to re think it. 

I've been machine sewing today. My nephew gave me an unfinished bed quilt that his wife was making but it got put in the loft. I am finishing it off, they can have it back when it's done.

Thanks for popping in, thanks to the walkers for updating your mileage, thanks to the NHS. I forgot to clap again. Toodle pip.  ilona

Wednesday 1 April 2020

First shopping trip to buy food.

Hoooray, I have done my first shopping in 13 days. The fridge was bare, so now it's restocked. I had run out of Mayze's cat food , now we can carry on for another 13 days. 
The town was ghostly quiet, it felt very strange. I went this afternoon because I thought it would be less busy in Aldi. The bank was closed, they have cut their hours and finish at 2pm daily. Not a problem, nothing urgent, just a cheque to deposit for the refund from my road tax of the old car. It can wait. 
I got all the cat food I needed from Home Bargains, thankfully they had the varieties I wanted. Small Sheba pouches for Heidi, and Whiskas pouches for Oscar. Mayze only eats cooked meats from the chiller cabinet so I got that from Aldi. They all eat dry Whiskas as well. 
Aldi was quiet, only a few cars in the car park. I kept well away from people as much as I could, and didn't dawdle. Not a good idea to browse. 
Some of the things I bought. 
Bananas, grapes, frozen raspberries, yogurt Greek style, Eggs, Lentils, cheesy crackers, beetroot, iceberg lettuce, seeded bread, multigrain hoops, carrots, brocolli, potatoes, sliced ham, extra virgin olive oil, milk, cheese and onion quiche, cheese and onion rolls, pasta and sauce, egg custards, mayo, sugar, houmous, scones, and cheap white wine.  That will keep me going for a while. 
The car is very lovely to drive, don't know when I will be able to go out again. Maybe another shopping trip in two weeks time. 
That's me done for now. Don't forget, if you haven't checked in with your walking miles you can do it at any time.
Toodle pip.  ilona