I’ve got four birthdays to think about, all of them are this week.  It feels like Christmas has prematurely come round again, before I have had time to properly recover from it.  I like to give two or three small packages to the children, so they have fun going through the present bag.  Adults are simpler, more often than not, one piece of gift wrap for them covers all.

Ho hum….here I am again, only eight weeks after the last festive blast cutting up gift paper, wrapping up presents and raking through the cupboard for some bags to put them in.

Brown or white paper bags can be quite  good as gift bags, those you sometimes get in food shops with paper handles – they look like ears have been attached –  making sure, mind you, that there are no tell-tale signs of their original use.  The trouble is, it’s too early in the year to have any.  My alternative would be a plain bio-degradable plastic carrier bag, if I have one. These days, getting a carrier bag of any sort, let alone one that I can use as a gift bag, is rare.

Like lots of people I recycle the festive gift bags I have received at Christmas time.  Really, I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t use them at anytime, even if they are glittery tree, Reindeer, snow-flake,  bauble and star adorned festive gift bags.  After all, they are bags; if it looks like a bag and acts like a bag, then it must be a bag……………………I cannot think of any good reason why I shouldn’t use them for all sorts of occasions, can you?

Gift Bag

Gift Bag



Christmas will soon be upon us!

I have posted two packages today, thought it was safer to do so now that the postal system is fully back to normal, (whatever that is). I have more to do yet, and I have every intention of keeping them as light as possible, to keep post costs very much down.

One child’s gift was resolved today. Rather than put the present away, I got on with wrapping the two items, which are snugly sitting in a “Ho.Ho.” Santa designed carrier bag (recycled from last year).

The trouble is, if I post the UK gifts too early, I know for sure that some of them will be opened just that bit too soon. It means therefore, I can’t make space just yet, I shall have to hold on to the items. They’ll definitely go about the end of this month – November.

I still have a few items to find. I have absolutely no idea what to do about them; I hope inspiration will suddenly surprise me.


I think the cats are confused, one more so than the other. We’ve just got back from using a friend’s cottage and their two pet cats were in residence instead of where they are usually at. One looked as if she was pining – the mum – the other bigger one, her daughter, was constantly out killing things at night to bring us back gifts to put on our bed during the night.

Do you fancy having a half dead dragon fly or the heart of a rabbit, or maybe it was the stomach, laid on your pillow while you sleep? We saw the cat jump into the bathroom sink to lick the water. There was fresh water laid out by the the cats food bowls; there was one bowl of food and one bowl of water for each one.

Sure these pets are confused, the cottage guests work by different rules to those they have got used to. They hadn’t got the run of the whole of the house nor the kitchen work surfaces, that was definitely OUT. We had bathroom and bedroom doors closed at night and during the day. Their food was regularly given and their water bowls refreshed. The cat flap was used readily by the hunter/killer, and only when the door was open and the weather was okay, her mum sauntered out to explore.


The dinner worked out well, except the guests were both at different stages of being invalids with colds. One had got to dry tickly cough and weary point, the other, stuffed up but needing hankies galore and had a sore throat to complement it. I have a feeling we’ve just been through variations of their bugs. Let’s hope they get well soon and that we don’t have another dose of Spring flu to call our very own.

Our friends were very thoughtful and generous in other ways, bringing an over abundance of riches…….. a couple of bunches of tulips, two different types of cheeses, a bottle of wine and cans of beer.


My original thought was to add some fat balls to ma-in-law’s Xmas gift bag. Of course, I would have wrapped them up in keeping with the tradition.

Ma-in-law (M-I-L) is in a residential facility and has a bird table (a previous gift from family) placed outside the window of her room. She has always liked watching birds, feeding them, hand rearing weak ones, and she was quite knowledgeable about bird behaviours. I thought long and hard about dressing up fat balls and decided against gifting them in that way. M-I-L would not have mistaken them for anything other than bird food but I was really unsure how she would have reacted to finding fat balls in her present bag.

Instead of fat balls, I have borrowed the better half of a pair bright red socks from hubby’s wardrobe and stuffed into it a reasonable sized satsuma, a 50pence piece and some good quality mint chocolates that are wrapped in green foil and are presented in a festive clear plastic cracker with little decorations at either end. I have secured the top of the sock with red and green ribbons.


Why is it that the good size cut off pieces of wrapping paper never, but never, suit anything else that has to be wrapped.

The small pieces of paper seem to find something they can successfully be attached to.

Right,onto the next item to be measured up…


Friday 8th Feb 2008

I was out for most of today;

Indulging in social contact and;

Limited local retail therapy, the limitations being on what is available, rather than what I purchased;

Spent some money, (mostly sales and reduced price stock);

Got severely battered by wind gusts that came through at danger speeds;

A stone, picked up by the extreme winds, hit my lower jaw and startled me;

And I had a job staying upright and holding on to my purchases;

At home, I found a box addressed to me with 3 bottles of wine inside;

Now I don’t have to worry about staying on my feet!      

Around and About At The House…

Still the 14th October 06

The neighbour calls by to ask if he can use the fridge for overflow of beer cans and he would like to use the freezer later for quick cool off of other booze. They’re having a party for the wife’s 60th and we’re invited as well, after 7.30pm, to enjoy a bit of supper and celebrate with them. The neighbours are given the freedom of the fridge and freezer.

We decide to go out to benefit from the good weather, to visit student daughter, she’s 50 miles away, and to get a warm shower. My hair needs washing.

On the way, we find a lovely hotel/restaurant at Upper Largo The waitress has a nice manner. I‘d really like to return there sometime; I decide on carrot and coriander soup followed by shared BLT baguette that has an imaginative salad on the side and the ubiquitous chip; a few chips were eaten.

Between courses the cousin who’s abroad phones for update on the boiler – he groans and grovels gratefully for all we’re doing. Hubby says “de nada” and keeps the call short. At daughter’s, with access to email, send the cousin an email, repeating what he knows already.

With hair washed and dried, hubby and I go into town to give offspring an opportunity to do a bit of studying before we do the traditional treat of meal with her before we depart.

There’s a great gift shop; I spend rather more than I intended, however I now have one gift wrapped birthday pressie for the neighbour’s 60th and another one for a Christmas gift. The wrapping is delightful. While the assistants wrap, I fatally browse and find some great knick-knacks to add to some other xmas gifts. The wrapping paper they sell is eye-catching, two colour ways of crochet squares patterns, thick expensive sheets of it. I buy one of each and, I decide, no-one else is going to purloin them – they’re mine!!

The drive back down switchback bendy dark roads is challenging: I have to remember to switch off my headlights for oncoming cars. Some of them don’t and they dazzle and blind me.

The neighbour’s birthday is party in full swing; I offer birthday gift to the lady herself, who greets us at the door. The remains of the large buffet still look very good. A party plate and plastic cutlery are quickly pushed into my hands. I politely nibble a bit of turkey, a sliver of broccoli and cheese quiche and a couple or three of cherry tomatoes with half a glass of white semi-sweet wine.

We soon start chatting to some interesting people, including a native of Lebanon and his Scottish wife, who immediately offer us the use of their warm shower (2 houses away). How very kind. The local road sweeper is a life and soul of party person. He is wearing a snazzy pair of pin-stripe trousers with a loose white shirt over. Either side of the button panel there’s thick bands of sequins “…ooh, it took me minutes to sew those on”, he quips.

We both agree that we are definitely leaving for home, come what may, after the technician’s next visit to the ailing boiler.


working backwards to Christmas

If you have experienced one of those smug moments when you’ve started to achieve something ever so much in time that it feels really sooo good, then I’ve had one of those moments today.:D

Why, you might ask: well, I’ve written two Xmas cards for surface mail post (first time I’ve managed that in years) and wrapped up a couple of parcels, though one is on behalf of mother-in-law. She’s promised to write a message on a label when I get it to her. That means her daughter will get one nice surprise from her this year. She, poor soul not only does her own post and parcels but ends up dealing with all of her mother’s gifts and post as well. Mum won’t let anyone else help – I’ve tried – while daughter has made it quite clear she would love some assistance. There’s a whole load of mother and daughter stuff wrapped up in this.

Gifts, get lost, usually between two rooms, or don’t get sorted, or can’t be dealt with when daughter can manage it: the whole kit and caboodle gets too stressful and last Xmas, daughter stood back and the majority of wrapping etc was done in time for new year instead. I think a gentle point was made. I wait to see this year if I will be allowed to assist.:crazy:

I quite liked having a new year surprise; Xmas gets too ritualised and I must say, I feel we all get dragged along with it for sake of family and traditions. Apart from helping out beforehand if I am allowed, I’m hoping to get away from the network over the festive period this year.

Though my blogs are about whatever train of thought comes to mind, I am very aware of world events, even if it may not seem so. There are so many people who can make apposite comments and offer original thoughts, that I prefer to read, observe and listen in order to reflect on what is happening and, where appropriate contribute in some form. In the international forum our main active contribution I believe, is our national vote. Not that those we vote for may necessarily be as effective as we would like nor do as we would wish. But then, we can’t plan for the vagaries of human nature and neither can they.

From another viewpoint, it is obvious in democracies that when the time for elections is nigh, the political mind becomes domestically focused in order to accrue votes and it is then, for a short time, we have a voice that the politicians are desirous of hearing but also for swaying to their particular cause. However, in the global scheme of things, our voices again fade away and we are left with the people who have achieved our national vote, to act in our best interests – but the question is do they?

Right – that’s my thoughts for the day, I’m now going to make a start on my annual letter while that nice smug feeling remains, and I think short will be better this year. I have tried not writing one and was roundly castigated by people for not sending it. Funny that 88|