HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for the ‘Minnie’ Category

Black cat – granddaughter of Fluff and sister to Mollie and Mitsi

Maidstone again!

Posted by HelenEdith on July 15, 2009

When Stephen and I went to Maidstone a couple of weekends ago to hear Maidstone Winds perform on the bandstand in Brenchley Gardens, we didn’t expect to be returning to Maidstone again so soon.

However, to Maidstone we went, as Stephen’s Mum had a hospital appointment at the Maidstone Hospital. We picked her up and went to the hospital first. We had to pay for our parking as Jessie didn’t have her blue disabled badge with her. That was my fault, as she used her walker to get out to the car and her handbag was on the walker seat. I took the walker back into her house and didn’t notice the handbag on there and so it didn’t go with us! 😳

Once we were finished in the hospital, we headed into central Maidstone to visit the Chequers Centre, now renamed The Mall Maidstone.

I decided to have another four place settings of the stoneware crockery I bought last time we were in Maidstone. Stephen isn’t entirely happy about that as the plates are quite large and only fit in certain specialised slots on the dishwasher. They are really nice plates though: well glazed, plus they’re big enough that you can fit a decent cooked breakfast on them without bits hanging over the sides! 🙂

Stephen had various items of clothing, and so did Jessie and I. In fact, Jessie and I both liked one skirt and bought it in each of our sizes! Jessie and I both had trainer liners. I want them for actually wearing inside trainers, but she just wants them for putting on her feet at home.

Jessie also had some mugs and I had four glass tumblers.

Then we moved onto British Home Stores where I had some items I wanted to swap for a different size. It all got very complicated because I bought six on a “three for £5” deal but could only swap five as I’d worn one. The poor assistant took quite a long time to get it to come out right. I could have ended up making a £1 profit as the returns went in at full price and the replacements came out on the discount deal. At least I was in a good humour and so was the assistant, so we got it all worked out amicably. She did ring the bell and summon a second assistant as a queue started to form behind my complicated transaction! Just when we thought we had it all square, I noticed a size 22 tag on one of the items in my replacement pile and thought the assistant had got a return mixed in, but I’d picked up a garment which was displayed incorrectly sized. That entailed a bit more to-ing and fro-ing, but we sorted that glitch out too.

The one thing I didn’t manage to do was to visit Specsavers, where I was hoping to get some running repairs done on my prescription varifocal polaroid sunglasses. I was wearing them on a chain and they were hanging down on my chest when Stephen decided to hug me and bent the frames, causing one lens to pop out. It hit the pavement and now has a chip out of it. I suspect that I will be up for a new pair, but I’d really like some running repairs in the meantime as I need dark glasses next Sunday when I’m playing outdoors with the Beckenham Concert Band. If they can’t cobble those back together, I’ll need to get some clip-ons by Sunday…

I’d had enough of Maidstone by then, so we headed home. I took a wrong turning and we joined the M20 a bit further east than I’d intended to 🙂 but we got back to Jessie’s place eventually, having stopped along the way for a McDonald’s.

Jessie’s cats were pleased to see me, as usual. Minnie spent a considerable amount of time on my lap; Boonie had a couple of short sessions, and Mitsi landed when I was least expecting her, but moved off again once I’d acknowledged her. Mollie got her share of attention on the floor, and so did Sam.

Tomorrow’s a working day, and I think I’m tired enough to go to bed right now and sleep. Stephen would like me to pre-order Windows 7, but the site for doing that is currently down due to the high volume of traffic. Methinks that people are more enthusiastic about Windows 7 than they ever were about Vista. 😀 I should also check back through my book review file and make sure that the library book I’m about to start reading isn’t one I’ve already read. It would be annoying to sit down on the train tomorrow and find that my reading matter wasn’t something new after all.

Posted in Bruno a.k.a. Boonie, General, Minnie, Mitsi, Mollie, Sam | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

A rather busy week

Posted by HelenEdith on June 27, 2009

My new Bonmarche outfit

My new Bonmarche outfit

I have had a busy time over the past 7 days. You may have already read about my exploits with Maidstone Winds and the Beckenham Concert Band which took place last weekend. Knowing that I wasn’t going to get a “Saturday”, I prearranged to take Monday as Annual Leave so that I could have my “Saturday” then and chill out a bit.

In the event, I managed to sleep a little later on Monday morning, but wouldn’t say that I had an entirely restful day as Stephen and I went shopping. We started in Orpington, where we fortified ourselves for our foray into the shops by visiting McDonald’s. Suitably fuelled, we visited the Asian supermarket, where I can usually find something nice. I stocked up on sweet chilli sauce this time, and found a Thai curry paste which didn’t contain coconut. I also found a jar of coriander paste. I love coriander and this looks so much more interesting than ground coriander but not nearly as much work as growing my own.

When walking along the High Street to McDonald’s, we noticed that Bonmarche appeared to have some good deals, so when we came back by their shop, we went in. Stephen was forebearing in a manly sort of way while I admired clothes and tried some on, but he did go and check the sale rack at the back of the shop and came up with a pleated floral skirt in sage green tones. It was a 24 rather than a 22 and was a fraction loose when I tried it on, but it’s not going to fall off me and at the price, if I ever manage to lose sufficient weight so that it does start falling off, I won’t mind listing it on eBay. I also chose two tops from their “buy 2 for £12” range. One is an earthy green which goes perfectly with the skirt, while the other is brown, and goes pretty well with a pair of stone trousers I’ve had sitting on the shelf at home. My final choice in Bonmarche was a swimsuit. It’s black with hot pink stripes radiating across it. All I can say about it is that it fits. I cannot say it flatters, but I suspect that no swimsuit will. Now I’ve just got to get up the nerve to appear in public in it. Maybe if I use it, I can shrink my stomach to the point where the swimsuit becomes more flattering! 😀

Then we hit the Walnuts, where we had several targets in mind. The first was Wilkinsons where I wanted to stock up on multipacks of tights. I also got myself a half dozen ballpoint pens, and when I got home, I found I still had 3 left from the last time I’d stocked up! Never mind, I get through pens as I do the cryptic crossword from the Glasgow Herald and I do a selection of the Killer Sudoku puzzles from Killer Sudoku Online and this keeps the ink flowing! Stephen managed to add some items to the basket while we were in Wilkinsons as well, but chip-and-pin at the checkout was frighteningly easy. 😯

We managed to bypass Thorntons but next door is Julian Graves and that is a place I definitely can’t pass. I had a pack of aniseed balls and several packs of my favourite vanilla filled fondant sticks. I can’t find a link to them right now, but they’re gorgeous. 😛

Next in our line of sight was the 99p Shop. You can tell that we’re the last of the big spenders! 😀 I’m sure I found some nice Jalfrezi sauce in there last time we were there, but there wasn’t any there this week. 😦 That’s the trouble with such establishments: they pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap, but when they’re gone, they gone! They did have some cans of beef stew which looked like a useful addition to our larder shelf, so I had a few of those. I hope I like them, as I think I’ve got four to get through. Stephen will help me with them, though. Stephen found some compost starter at a fraction of the price that it costs in a garden centre, so we had a couple of boxes of that, and Stephen’s going to get around to putting our new compost bin into service. We’ve got a queue of curled-up lettuce, soggy cucumber, limp carrots and black bananas to start it off. 😎

By this time, we’d accumulated as many carrier bags as we wanted to carry, so we decided that it was time to head back to the car. Stephen had been meaning to put in an appearance in Biggin Hill at the Harris HospisCare shop to help with the heavy lifting, but we’d spent so long trawling the shops that he realised that he wasn’t going to make it. He also needed to visit his Mum, and as Orpington was already half way there, it didn’t make sense to return home for his vehicle, so we decided to both go and visit his Mum.

Our route took us past Polhill and we decided to go in there and have a look around. A coachload of visitors were just leaving as we arrived. People actually go on days out to Polhill! It’s got a good cafeteria and there’s a lot of retail space there as well. We phoned Stephen’s Mum from the car park to see if she wanted anything, and she did, but most of it wasn’t stuff that we could find at Polhill. So we went into Polhill on our own behalf. I like browsing in the shop at the front. I think it was originally a farm shop, but I wouldn’t describe it as that now. Funnily enough, they were also selling coriander paste, but I think I may have got a better deal at the Asian supermarket in Orpington.

Out in the garden tools section of Polhill’s extensive retail space, Stephen found a hoe attachment for a system he owns, so we had to pay for that on our way out. (The shop where I browsed has their own tills. I expect they run as a franchise within the complex.)

Then it was down the hill. All the routes heading towards Westerham and Sevenoaks go down a significant hill. I assume that the hill we went down is called Polhill. If you go through Knockholt, you go down Star Hill, while if you go through Biggin Hill, you go down Westerham Hill. Stephen doesn’t like taking his Reliant Rialto up Westerham Hill. It’s reasonably steep, and I think the Reliant won’t climb it in 3rd gear but 2nd gear is a bit too low. My Nissan 200SX sails up it in 3rd gear unless I get stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle, in which case even my Nissan needs to go down into 2nd.

We detoured into Riverhead to Tesco to pick up some things for Stephen’s Mum. We picked up some things for us, too, with the combined grocery bill coming to around £50.

Then we actually made it to Stephen’s Mum’s place! Minnie, one of the black cats, came out onto the footpath to greet us. Minnie seems to have adopted me, and I wonder whether she has learnt the sound of my car. We delivered the groceries and put things away. Stephen loosened the top on each milk container, as Jessie has trouble unscrewing them otherwise. Stephen tries to make sure that he loosens lids and caps of anything Jessie is likely to want.

We gave all of the cats a cuddle and then we came home. I’m not sure that you would describe the day as exactly “chilling out”, but I quite enjoyed it anyway.

The rest of the week could have been an anticlimax after all that, but actually continued to be really busy. I attended the office on Tuesday and then went out in the evening to a Beckenham Concert Band rehearsal. I am trying to attend rehearsals regularly for the Summer as I’ve signed up to do a concert in mid July and another at the start of August. When we get to the end of the summer, I’ll take stock and consider whether I want to continue attending regular rehearsals. It just wasn’t possible when I was doing the car commute to Basildon for my job, but now I’m London based again, I hope that I may have the capacity, and it’s a fun and enjoyable thing that I could be doing.

The musical activities didn’t stop on Tuesday. It seems that I’ve played as much in the past 7 days as I’ve played for the whole of the rest of this year, and on Wednesday I attended a Marlowe Ensemble play-through. This is held about every six weeks, when the regular ensemble members are augmented by players such as myself in order to attempt some larger scale works. We aren’t rehearsing for a concert: the aim of the evening is to borrow music from the library, play it through, and then return it. Our fare on Wednesday night was:

  • Beethoven – Symphony No.2 – 2nd and 4th movements, as we’d done the 1st and 3rd movements last time we met;
  • Weber – Oberon Overture;
  • Mendelssohn Bartholdy – Symphony No.3 in A Minor

I was fortunate enough to recruit the services of a second bassoon for the evening. I’d seen him the night before at Beckenham and found that he didn’t have to rehearse for the Hayes Symphony Orchestra this week, and he was pleased to come along. He was just glad that I’d warned him about the roadworks in Sidcup at present, or he would have had trouble finding the place where we play!

I did try using my one remaining cane reed, but it just wasn’t working well. I tried adjusting the wires with my pliers, but it needs more than that to get it going as a couple of notes were horridly unstable. I didn’t really think that my plastic reed was up to orchestra yet, as I haven’t been playing on this one for long and plastic reeds take time to mellow, but it was any port in a storm and with all the playing I’d already done this week, I’ve apparently gone some distance down the mellowing process, although I still don’t think it’s the equal of the one that split at about this time last year, which I’d played on almost exclusively for about six or seven years. (Yes, I did say years. I haven’t been playing a great deal, but the longevity of a plastic reed appears to be pretty good provided that you don’t abuse it.)

On Thursday, all I had to do was go to work, which was a bit of a relief! 🙂 We had our Monthly Staff Briefing in the afternoon, and I put my hand up and asked a couple of awkward questions, whose content I won’t go into here. I did get reasonably satisfactory answers, which was encouraging. I stayed quite late in the office and finished off the job I was supposed to be doing last week but got interrupted so that it slipped into this week.

Friday was another routine day in the office. Or in the case of a lot of people, I think it may have been a routine day at home. Friday seems to be a popular day for home-working and the office was a bit like the Marie Celeste. I rarely home-work on a Friday, but then the rationale behind my home-working is to break up my commute, so I usually have a day at home in the middle of the week. However, I have to admit that I arranged to work at home on the day most convenient to me this week, which was Wednesday, when the Marlowe Ensemble were starting at 7:30pm and my time was at a premium! 🙂

Posted in Beckenham Concert Band, General, Marlowe Ensemble, Minnie | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »