Middle-Aged Catch Up

Well. I really don’t know where to start. Who could have possibly envisaged that the whole world would be in lock down with a terrifying virus rampaging around? There are tough times, and I hope you and your loved ones are all safe and well.

But enough of that. There’s enough misery out there without me adding to it. I have got a reason for my long absence, scouts’ honour, and more on that later, but I wanted to check in to let you know what’s been going on in the warrior household.

The Dog

So things have not been good for Dog. We found a lump on her hip and I thought – oh it’s fine. Probably just that piece of grass wandering around her body that they didn’t get out in her last operation.

Well it wasn’t. Turned out to be a tumour she had to have cut out. Horrors, horrors. The poor thing had to get back in her cone and have her tummy shaved (the vet offered a free ultrasound as she was in training and I thought, why not?) and a big chunk cut out of the top of her leg.

Look at her! Look at her poor little face!

The good news is she is absolutely fine now. She wasn’t allowed to go for walks for ages and when she was finally allowed off her lead she promptly ran into a wood for an hour and a half until I was hoarse with shouting and sweating like a pig.

I was just about to call the vet police (is that a thing?) when she trotted up to me with casual shrug and a ‘what?’ expression.

She has also managed to work out how to lever off the top of our metal bin so three times in a row I have woken up to find our rubbish scattered all over the kitchen with Dog lying under the sofa refusing to look at me.

She is over the moon that we are home all the time and is getting lots of walks. She is the children’s constant companion.

Dog helping Daughter with Distance Learning

The only problem with working from home with Dog is that when I was teaching a live lesson she crept up to my blind side and carefully clambered up my body until she was sitting on my lap. Her strength and weight was extraordinary and it took me quite a while to prise her off – much to the hilarity of my sixth form.


As I am sure many of you have found, living all together can be tough. The children are driving me insane and I find it irritating they are both now taller than me and Daughter keeps stealing my clothes; she looks so much better than me in them I have now hidden everything.

The chocolate stash remains undiscovered, but I have to keep moving it to avoid detection. I have given up on wearing a bra at all, settling for thick jumpers, so there are some silver linings.

Now the holidays official have started, I have no excuses and Rob has been getting quite insistent that I should be doing half the cooking.

This is why I don’t cook

I tried to point out to him that I am not a natural cook and the last time I cooked a big dinner was at Christmas, and somehow I managed to burn myself so badly (on the edge of a saucepan – how is that even possible?) I had a giant blister, the scar of which remains to this day.

This didn’t cut any mustard with him, so I am getting pretty good at ham and cheese toasties (but now the bread has run out and I am 9 million and one in the Ocado queue) and I was quite proud of this pasta dish I made from the left overs in the fridge. I added loads of chipotle sauce and it was delicious.

My other cooking success was golden syrup cookies. OK, so the syrup was so old it had gone a bit black around the edges of the tin, and the flour’s best before date was June 2018 – but they come out lovely. I made a billion of them, thinking they would last the lockdown duration, but the kids hoovered them up within a day and a half.

This was despite me hiding them in a variety of places including a muesli cereal box and the laundry basket. They’ve gone completely feral and roam about sniffing the air to see if there’s any food to be found.

I am very grateful to the Walking Dead because when I was binge watching it I got really paranoid about running out of food so I went through a phase of buying loads of tins. Rob scoffed at me and thought I was mad.

Well, who is the mad one now? Ha! Thanks to me, Rob found fourteen cans of custard, twelve tins of rice pudding and six tins of chopped tomatoes I’d put in the attic. Not so much the ‘idiot wasting our money’ now, eh, Rob?

It may not seem the most ideal of of food stores, but actually it’s been really nice having hot custard with crumble and bowls of comforting rice pudding. Next time I worry about a zombie invasion I will definitely stock up on yeast, chocolate chips and mayonnaise – all of which are sadly lacking in our household at the moment.

Rob is spending hours in the garden then getting very cross nobody will come out to help him except Dog who lies next to him and gets in his way.

I’ve spent too long on my phone constantly swearing at it because it won’t open when I look at it. I don’t know what I did, but I can’t seem to recreate the fricking expression I used when I first bought it and signed in, so have to keep using the passcode. I have no idea how to update my Face ID so am stuck with this.

Stupid phone

Not being able to go to the gym has been hard, but we are very near a field so I have been running around that every couple of days. (This time with a bra, a very firm one). I thought I was fairly fit until I did a bloody Joe Wick work out. Jesus! I ache all over today – very good value (I bought one episode on Amazon video, the 20 mins HIIT work out) and it was excellent.

I chose Joe purely because he is such an effective teacher *cough*

Having a slower pace of life takes getting used to but we are relaxing into it. We are very lucky we are safe at the moment, and can self-isolate, unlike those incredible people out there in the NHS, as well as the delivery drivers, farmers, supermarket workers, food stackers, bin men and women, and all the others who have to keep going out there to keep us all going. My heart goes out to them.

One lovely advantage to being able to sit and stare out of the window is you get to see some amazing birds. On our bird table I’ve had a woodpecker, and a beautiful long-tailed tit (I’ve been told that’s what he is) who is TINY but so bold he sat on my door handle and tapped on the window to be let in.

My Book! MY BOOK!

OK, so I managed to keep a lid on my excitement until now. My book goes live on 3rd April!

I am hoping to send a link out so people can have a look. It’s going to be so embarrassing if everyone things it’s a pile of tosh.

The absolute worst bit has been finding a photo for my author profile on Amazon. I spent ages looking and thought the one I’d chosen was quite nice until Rob said I looked like a fat Chinese woman. ‘I look happy though, don’t I?’ I said. ‘Yes, you look happy,’ he replied.

I’ve got two novels finished now, and one I’m in by a few chapters. Writing the books and writing the blog at the same time is something I’ve found impossible, so it’s been nice to put the book aside to write this.

I feel like this is a bad time to be twaddling on about my book. It seems very trivial in this nightmare we are currently enduring, but I thought, well, maybe reading about an old witch and a fat, middle-aged woman is the escape we need in these dark times?

Speaking of coping with the nightmares… here are my escape recommendations….*

Stop watching the news and read/watch these instead

This was sweet, funny, and rolled gently along. I’m looking forward to her next one.

The wonderful, wonderful, Marian Keyes. This is a great big wodge of a novel and kept me sucked in until the end. Perfect to shut out the world.

If you want a good, gripping, thriller of a novel – Sophie Hannah is the master.

Love Lisa Jewell and her thrillers are top notch. Highly recommended

Have a look at my recommendations for books but if you click here you will find my top COMFORT READS, which we all need right now.

What to Watch?

Well GRACE AND FRANKIE of course!

Also, we’re late to the game, but Rob and I are really enjoying bingeing (sp?) on The Tunnel – the UK version of The Bridge.

Marcella – absolutely bloody brilliant – have you seen it? Really, really good thriller. Two seasons as well so will keep you going for a while.

Oh dear, I do like comedies very much but all I have watched lately have been gritty thrillers. They are absorbing, though – and maybe that’s what we need right now.

I can hear the sound of chocolate wrappers opening – Son’s found the stash!

Keep safe everyone.

*I used to get a % if anyone clicked on these links but I’ve never made any money so they chucked me off the programme, but I thought I’d better warn you just in case that I might get some pennies if you go on to buy this πŸ™‚

9 thoughts on “Middle-Aged Catch Up

  1. Hope dog is healing as well as your arm – right now I miss romaine lettuce so much I cant tell you (impossible to find here in rural Scotland), that was my default base for any evening meal – doesnt need cooking and you can put anything you want on top and call it salad of some sort, if you give the “salad” a pretentious name people think it is a real recipe you followed… trust me that works, but if anyone doesn’t believe you tell them it was in the Guardian.

    So glad to see you posting

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I feel your pain – I’m really missing fresh fruit as well. My idea of a salad is anything you can drench in mayonnaise. Can you grow it at home in a pot or something?


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