Saturday, 31 December 2016

Review of the year

 Eric and Tinker R.I.P.

All the years I've been blogging I've written a review of the year. Although I unceremoniously closed down my last blog at the end of October and this is a relatively new blog,  I'll still write my review. It seems to be a good way as any to keep the old blog alive whilst hopefully starting over and losing the trespassers I had on the old blog.

I'll start with the week before Christmas last year when we collected our brand new car. We'd had our much loved previous car for five years but it seemed it was jinxed and we decided to trade it in after a catalogue of attempted theft, vandalism, scrapes and bumps. I'm happy to report we have had twelve month's trouble free motoring so far and touch wood it stays that way.

January seemed to be very cold and wet. I'd posted some photos on my previous blog of the snow- capped mountains I took with my old point and shoot camera taken whilst walking along the path through the sand dunes. I was delighted when blogging friend Ann asked if she could paint a picture from my photo. I was thrilled when she sent me not one but two pictures which now hang proudly on my living room wall. Father Christmas has generously brought me a new bridge camera this year and I have yet to take any photos with it but watch this space :)

During February my daughter asked if she could enter the greyhound scarf I'd knitted for her into a charity auction and I'm pleased to say it raised £50 for the greyhound rescue and is now being worn by someone in America.

March and April saw some turmoil when our previous neighbour started threatening us with legal action over a piece of our garden which was sold to us when we bought our new build house twenty years ago. The neighbour then sold the house to a housing association who stepped up the threat with a demand. It's still an ongoing issue and at the moment nothing seems to be happening. The new owners have agreed the land is ours but it hasn't been legally signed over to us yet. Something we need to chase up with our solicitor in the New Year.

During May we had relaxing holiday in  a stunning farmhouse on the Llyn Peninsula. Sadly, whilst we were there daughter and son-in-law's much loved lurcher Eric passed away. He was their first dog and they'd had him for thirteen years from being a pup. If that wasn't bad enough his companion Tinker passed away just five months later in October. They'd adopted Tinker from rescue not long after they were married and had eight wonderful years with her.

During June we took Annie on a Great Greyhound walk which Annie thoroughly enjoyed being with the big dogs. Then daughter and son-in-law fostered and quickly adopted Molly the greyhound from rescue. Unfortunately it transpired that Annie and Molly do not like each other especially together in our home. It's meant that Christmas this year has had to be spent apart.

July I decided it was time for new specs but have never quite got used to them. The frames are so different from anything I have had before. I've since bought some distance glasses from the same prescription and although I like them better I can't see to read in them. I was told I have early stage cataracts and my eyesight seems to be rapidly deteriorating.

During August we met up with blogging friend Eunice and met her two little terriers Sophie and Poppie. Eunice camped for a couple of nights just a few miles away in the grounds of the castle estate and we all went to the open days at the castle albeit on separate days.

During September husband and I had a lovely day out at a place Eunice had recommended to us and we had such a fabulous day, definitely one to remember and revisit. Sadly Oscar our oscar fish died and we now have just one community tank left and when those fish eventually pass, husband's fish keeping days will finally be over too. He has kept tropical fish all of our married life and the time has come to say goodbye to the hobby.

October saw husband have an operation he'd been waiting for all year and although he was able to travel to a private hospital for the op it ended up being so much hassle, but it's all over and done with now. Daughter went off for a week's holiday to Berlin and witnessed a very distressing incident whilst she was there. It's not my place to speak about what happened but it was something you should never have to see. Another surprise came in the form of a blogging award from yet another blogging friend but unfortunately it has to stay tucked away with my last blog. My apologies for ending the blog so abruptly at the end of October but I felt it was the right thing to do at the time.

So Deja Brew was born mid-December and I'm keeping an eye on my stats and long may this blog continue.

That just leaves me to wish my blogging friends, you know who you are, a very happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Delayed Boxing Day dip

It was 1 degree Celsius according to the car's thermometer when we set out for the day after Boxing Day dip, not to participate you understand, oh no we were only going to watch other brave people be silly.

Down at the traffic lights were a couple heading off to begin today's fourteen mile Santa ride and I think the starting point was five miles away from here!

We wasted a good ten minutes waiting for someone to vacate a disabled parking bay and whatever the driver was doing in the driver's seat it wasn't starting the engine and moving off. So we parked on double yellow lines, as we are allowed to do and made it just in time for the start of the dip.

We watched them go in and then come out shivering and waited for the two inshore boats to come out of the water. I then took Annie down on the beach for a dip but she's not silly, she wasn't going to get her delicate little paws wet :)

Everyone was getting themselves warmed up and I even spotted Elvis having a cuppa. Time for us to head off and have a nice cup of coffee to warm ourselves up :)

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas day and Boxing day

That's Christmas Day over for another year. The turkey was delicious and there's plenty of leftovers for the rest of this week. We couldn't manage Christmas pudding so that's on the menu for today.

We opened our presents before breakfast and there's not many people can say they had Nico Rosberg, this year's Formula 1 world champion in their Christmas stocking, how I laughed :)

It was a good day, the sun was shining and I took Annie to the harbour for her walk. There was a little boy dressed as Spider-Man riding round and round the boardwalk on his Spider-Man bike complete with stabilisers. I told him he must have been a very good boy for Santa, his Dad told me he just needs Santa to drop him a cheque now :)

Here's a photo of Annie heading off down to the beach. It's a bit different from Christmas Eve when a strong gust of wind blew her off the boardwalk and took her by surprise. It's nice and sunny again today, I bet the Lifeboat crew are kicking themselves because they have postponed today's planned Boxing Day dip to due to bad weather., not that I have any plans to participate you understand.

Daughter sent me a photo of Molly with her presents. Although Molly is about seven years old this has to be her first proper Christmas as a spoiled greyhound :)

Boxing Day is a poignant day for me as it would have been my mother's birthday today and I always feel sad that's she's no longer here to share it with us, happy birthday Mum.

It's been a bad year for celebrity deaths this year and today I'm shocked and sad to learn that singer George Michael has died at age fifty three, no age at all.

I hope you have had a happy Christmas and wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Shopping madness

I was determined to get the last of the Christmas shopping done today. I don't enjoy being in crowds that are pushing and shoving as they scramble for fresh food in the supermarket. More often than not I do my shopping online but this week I wanted to choose my own foodstuffs for Christmas. Apparently there is a storm on the way that it is due to hit us tomorrow and Saturday so I'd rather be safe at home.  I was up and out early with Annie and was pleased to see the harbour bridge raised and I was able to photograph it with it's different colored lights.

Shopping all done early and it certainly was much busier  in the supermarket by the time I'd finished than when I'd started. I'd had a generous money off coupon through the post and I'd saved my reward points for this shop so the bill didn't break the bank.

Yesterday the car had been booked in for it's first annual service and it seems like this last twelve months have flown by. The dealership asked if we would like a lift into town while the car was being worked on and we were thankful for the lift as it was teeming with rain. There was only one shop we wanted to visit which was a very old established photography shop. Husband had decided he would like a new pair of binoculars and was able to choose his own. Husband has known that shop to be there since he was a boy and we were pleased with the personal service we received. By the way I'd already bought husband's main present and he is just being greedy :)

Having made our purchase we crossed over the road and caught the bus elsewhere and thankfully the rain had stopped when we arrived. We went for a meal and sat at a window seat and across the road from the cafe was what looked like a guardsman with his pony. After the meal we went to put some money in his bucket and a chance for me to stroke the pony and take a photograph. The guy wasn't pretending he was collecting for charity but he is actually a street entertainer and that is his business. I had a vague recollection that I'd seen him on the local news earlier in the year and seems I was right. Apparently the guy travels to this area and sleeps in a van with the pony and local residents were concerned about the pony's welfare at that time. I felt a bit sorry for the pony just standing there in the cold but as he's being well cared for then there's no problem.

We are all set for Christmas now and if there's anything I've forgotten then it's too bad and anyway the shops will only be shut for one day. I just want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and hope it's a good one.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Currently reading

It was sometime in September I was watching a television news programme about these shortlisted books  for the Man Booker Prize and of course I took notice that there was a book about a fictional character with the same name as my own. Husband very kindly asked if I would like to read it and bought it for me. I'm half way through the book and it certainly is a very interesting read. 

The story is set in the Christmas season, although Eileen narrates her own story as an old woman remembering her final week aged twenty four at home with her alcoholic father and at work as a clerk in a boy's prison. It's a dark novel and Eileen is a weird, complex character with low self esteem and her life is truly awful.

I'd say it's a love it or hate it book, but I love it. If you would like to read about the plot and reviews you can find them here. Sadly, this book didn't win the prize but did very well to be in the final shortlist of six. I'm already waiting for this author's next novel!

Thursday, 15 December 2016


Recently I'd been saying that I'd like to go to Liverpool's Christmas market and had looked up some train times and written them down. Yesterday we were up early, more often than not we don't set the alarm clock now that we live life in the slow lane, so I decided I would get ready and make the journey. I know Liverpool quite well as I used to go there quite frequently to manager's meetings when I was working as a shop manager. The meetings weren't something I really looked forward to but they were a paid day away from my own workplace and we were always fed quite well while we were there.

The journey had been straight forward with a change at Chester and I enjoyed reading my book on the way. On arriving in Liverpool I left the station and saw the Christmas tree, a manger and a couple of Christmas huts, one was selling mulled wine and beer I think and the other was selling German sausage. There were no other Christmas huts in the main street like there was last time I'd visited a couple of years ago. I then set off to visit the main Christmas market, headed to the square where it had previously been only to find a big empty space. Those couple of huts were the only ones I saw during the few hours I was there. I was disappointed there was no nice Christmas atmosphere, no craft stalls, I missed all the lovely cooking smells and the very reason I'd wanted to visit.

I think these were the same sculptures I'd seen a couple of years ago and there was a Christmas tree made of hearts. I decided to have lunch in the department store and had to wait for a table to become vacant as it was so busy. I was happy to be shown to a table by the window overlooking the dock and I took a photo of the view through the window. I opted for the Christmas dinner which was very nice with turkey, sprouts, carrots, parsnips, roast potatoes and pigs in blankets, the cranberry sauce was really delicious.

Following that nice dinner, the few stores I called into seemed too hot and too busy but I did find one item with fifty percent off but at the till it scanned at full price. The assistant went to check and came back and gave me the discount. In another store I was in a massive queue and the till assistant encountered some kind of problem and it seemed to take an age for a manager to come and sort it out for her, I put my item down on a nearby shelf and left.

I decided to visit the indoor market which had been modernised into small, separate units which were mostly unoccupied and the whole market atmosphere had been stripped from the place. I went for a coffee before heading back for the trains home feeling thoroughly disappointed.

Today I did something I should have done prior to my journey and that was look online and I would have discovered that the Christmas market had relocated to a site opposite the city's other railway station!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A tall story

On my old blog we had a bit of fun wondering if the zoo was missing one of its residents.  Well nobody seems to have claimed him. After spending the summer here in our little seaside town, he seems to have taken up residence. There must be plenty of shrubs and grass for him to eat and even though the weather is decidedly colder and wetter now, it doesn't seem to bother him too much. I spotted him yesterday and he's definitely getting into the Christmas spirit.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Starting over

I'm starting over with a new blog. I had my reasons for closing down my last blog, this one will have the same coffee theme but with less personal detail. Blogging friends I have made along the way have become like my penfriends of years ago, you already know the family so I hope you'll join me again for "coffee in the lounge".

Daughter and son-in-law came to visit on Saturday and we exchanged Christmas cards and gifts. As Annie and Molly did not get along the first time they met we agreed Christmas would be better spent apart for a more relaxing experience. This second time of Annie meeting Molly reinforced that decision, the dogs do not like each other.

Son-in-law had taken Molly for a good run on the beach before coming to see us and Annie had already been for her walk down at the harbour. We did get some quiet time while sleeping dogs lay but wide awake they watched each other intently, any movement and they were each ready to pounce. We took an eye off the ball and they did have a moment but son-in-law managed to avert real trouble. I'd adorned them with Christmas bows as well but even that didn't put them in the Christmas spirit. Here they are double trouble, Annie versus Molly :)

I wasn't even ready for exchanging gifts as I've been let down with online ordering and parcels going astray. Two parcels have got lost in the post, one seller sent me a replacement item and the second seller gave me a refund.  Saturday morning the postman put a card through the door as unable to deliver a parcel even though I regularly take in parcels for most of my neighbours, seems he'd prefer to take mine back to the sorting office. Son-in-law went to collect it some four hours later but apparently it hadn't been booked back in and I have to wait until today to collect it. Annoying as if it is the parcel I've waited over a fortnight for it contains stocking fillers for daughter. Knowing my luck it'll be the meerkat I ordered with my home insurance :)

It'll be the first time in a long time that Christmas will be just the two of us, husband and I and Annie of course. Our Christmas tree is decorated and looks nice. Living life in the slow lane means that husband is no longer able to put lights up on the outside of the house and this is the first time we haven't put up any garlands in the house. Not to worry as it's still beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Daughter sent us some photos last night of the lights that we have passed on to them all lit up on the outside of their bungalow and it's made us very happy to see they've put them to good use. They had to delay putting them up as recently son-in-law had a very nasty injury to his finger which thankfully is healing nicely. He showed us the photos on his phone of his stitched up, swollen finger and the damage was much worse than we'd imagined.

Only thirteen more sleeps until Christmas, it's a good job I'm not superstitious :) That's all for now folks, I'm glad to be back!