Where do all the masks go?

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I don’t mean the masks that end up as litter, in the street or in our oceans, I mean where do my masks go? The ones I know are in my house somewhere? Same place as the missing socks I presume? The missing sock monster has branched out into masks. I know I’ve purchased at least 4 cheap fabric masks now… there’s the cream one/s, the black one/s and the baggy grey one with stars on. I think my current favourite is the baggy grey one, it seems easier to get on and off than the others. I’m lucky if I can find one. I think they are probably lurking in coat pockets and inner sections of handbags..or in the laundry basket or mixed up with the ironing. I’ll have to get a better system as this is becoming ridiculous. And someone must remind me not to put my lipstick on and then immediately my mask because that is also just so moronic and I keep doing it! 😂

The windy wet weather is currently battering the plants in the Waffle plot. I’ve been out to survey the estate and it’s not looking pretty…

The lovely new patio furniture is hiding under its covers, wonder if that will ever come out again?

Every time I look around there is another pot or two toppled over..

The ever positive sunflowers, however, just don’t care… look at them.. ! still smiling with their lovely faces. They now seem to be on very good terms with their fuchsia neighbours.

The one good thing about this wind is I get to see the beautiful swaying of the ash tree in the field behind my garden. I love the way it shivers and bends. So graceful.

I feel a deep connection to this tree. It was one of the reasons we bought the house, falling in love with the view. When I lie on my bed upstairs, I like to have the curtains open a chink, to see the tree. I always find it calming. I’ve been watching it for 16 years (although I do go out sometimes you know!🙃) . This is the view from my bed:

In this picture you can also see the long grass where the fox family are often to be spotted or a muntjac deer. There used to be a horse in this field. The red kites soar overhead, and many many crows and seagulls. At dusk the crows fly over our roof in massive numbers, noisily chirping as they go. It’s like they’re going home to roost in the trees at the end of a busy day. I don’t speak Crow but I imagine they’re saying “hurry up, hurry up, it’s bed time, it’s getting dark, last one there’s a loser!” There’s usually a straggler or two behind, who can’t quite keep up with the A group. Oh my lovely local wildlife. I will really cry A LOT if the Council manage to achieve their wicked plan of a building development of 450 houses on this precious greenbelt land. Still fighting. Still hoping to win this one. At the front of my house I can see a bus stop and a road, which is handy, but not the same. We do also have 3 lovely trees on our front lawn… a lime, a copper beech and a silver birch. They cost us £££££££s in tree surgeon’s bills to prune every few years, but I do love them, and love to be the guardian of the trees.

As usual I’m waffling on… and about trees again! And how much I love them ❤️❤️❤️. Luckily many of you do too, I notice from your kind and lovely comments.

For now I must away to cook the salmon steaks, potatoes and green beans for supper. Probably with a bit of tartare sauce. I do like tartare sauce. Bon appetit everybody! Xx

Do bees worry?

Hello everyone. So what do you think? Do bees worry? I photographed this lovely one today in my garden on the sedum which is just starting to bloom and change colour. It ends up a deep red colour in the autumn. Bees are of course very busy and work very hard. Do you think they are worried they will not collect enough pollen by the end of the day? Or that their queen bee will not be safe and well fed? Are they happy in their work, just being healthy bees, doing what they were born to do? I suspect they are simply driven by instinct and carry out their chores without fear of the consequences.

I guess I’m thinking about this as I had a worrisome week last week. Every task I am working on at work I am also expending ridiculous amounts of energy worrying about the fifteen other urgent tasks I have yet to start and may not get to by the end of the day. And I am constantly questioning myself whether I am really doing the top priority job rather than the second top priority etc. And worrying about what things will be like when I am on leave in October and what a mess I will come back to afterwards. It’s been quite a relaxing weekend, nonetheless. I think the bees just reminded me of my workload for tomorrow! Hopefully it will not be as bad as I think.

Friday night I got to see David’s band play, a socially distanced private do for the immediate neighbours of Geoff the drummer. As usual I thought they were all amazing. David played guitar and sung his heart out, looked like he was born to do this, so in his comfort zone on the stage doing his music. They play a lot of Eagles and 60s and 70s music, with 3 singers so lots of lovely harmonies going on. The neighbours (and I) were dancing in the street. A couple of little children were really having a ball. One little boy apologised for not paying for a ticket, so cute, it was a free event. He was still dancing in his pyjamas later on.

Yesterday morning I woke up a bit jaded and tired but I was met by these lovely sunflowers that had turned their heads around the corner to greet me. As I’ve said before, it is hard not to be happy when you look at a sunflower, especially when you have grown it yourself… and there are three smiling faces…

It put me in a productive mood so I got out my sewing machine and successfully mended the hole in the bottom of the camping chair bag, the chair I used for the concert last night. There’s something very holistic and satisfying about sewing and about mending something. It’s now hanging up in the garage without fear of the chair falling out of the broken bag onto someone’s head.

My next task will be to mend a hole in my rucksack, provided the material is not too thick for the sewing machine.

Last night we had a pleasant meal sitting outside at Gurkha Royale, one of our favourite local restaurants, Nepalese food. The staff are always so friendly and efficient and we LOVE the momos which are steamed dumplings with spicy lamb or chicken in them. There were a few spots of rain but we survived outside, and it was exciting to see the new moon while we ate.

We walked home and David did some more astronomy. The light pollution is still so much less than before the pandemic. We had a good view of Jupiter and of Saturn. You could see the rings around Saturn quite clearly. It’s quite nice to feel small and insignificant in the universe from time to time…

Today we went for a walk in Windsor Great Park again, one of our favourite walks. There were no cows today. We joked that the Queen must have had a big barbecue party and eaten them all. Instead we saw lots and lots of acorns looking so fresh and green and tidy in their little cups.

We looked at this crop growing in the field, but couldn’t work out what it was.. some kind of greens… chard?

Everything else just looked stunning as usual. Love love love the old oak trees, some of them are hundreds of years old.

I think this one below is a chestnut tree.

Climb the hill back to the car…

This bracken reminds me of my childhood playing in Richmond Park.

Even the dead trees are beautiful.

Off to cook the cauliflower and green beans and to make the cheese sauce to go with the roast gammon and roast potatoes. Yum. There will be chocolate mousse for pudding. More yum. I am so chuffed when you tell me you have seen an idea on my blog and then made it for yourself, or adapted it a bit to better suit yourself and your family. So chuffed. I hope I can continue to inspire and entertain you with my Waffle… 😊x

Afternoon napping

This picture obviously has nothing at all to do with afternoon napping, but it made me smile when I came across this figure at the garden centre today. Whatever next?!

I have just awoken from my late afternoon nap. I napped longer and heavier than I meant to, must have been tired. So the blog will have to be not too waffly tonight as I’m a busy woman! I’ve been meaning to phone a friend for the last few nights and want to make time to finally do that. I’m also making chicken curry from this Pat Chapman cookbook I haven’t used before. In fact, I’d never heard of Pat Chapman until my friend gave me this book recently. Looking forward to that. And of course I need to water all the very thirsty plants au jardin.

As you can see I haven’t made that much progress on the ironing basket today…

The highlight of the day (apart from the decadent nap) was a walk around Boveney with David.

The river looked really beautiful.

This path is at the start of the walk. No one else around. Wonderful!

This interesting tree stump was at the end of the walk.

And these open fields and the pretty old church were in the middle..

After walking we came home for tea and cake in the garden. I had some more homemade rhubarb jam on a scone. It’s yummy but a bit runny.

This morning I remembered how much I like Viennese whirls… hadn’t had one for ages and ages, I think I’d forgotten about them. Note to self: do not forget about Viennese whirls… crumbly buttery texture, falls apart in the mouth with the sweetness of the chocolate dipped on the bottom, so good… so good… heavenly as they say on the pack!

Only try this as part of a balanced diet. Ha ha. Have a splendid evening, thanks for tuning in my marvellous Waffle friends xx

And then there were three

Update on the sunny sunflowers, there are now three flowers out on the tall sunflower plant.. and another one soon to come yippee!! It is really hard not to be happy when you’re looking at a sunflower.

“Happiness is a fully charged I-pad when you’re about to write your blog”. So many times I’ve been raring to go, ready to chat to you all of an evening and …. ***** it, I see only 8% charge, that’ll never work… and then waiting what seems like FOREVER for it to charge up enough. Well tonight, dear readers, I was lucky and 99% was all waiting for me. Marvellous.

It’s been a slightly challenging 24 hours. I try to use the word challenging rather than stressful as that sounds easier to manage. Work is very busy.. and challenging.. I had to have a GP telephone consult this morning as well during work time and that became a bit challenging too as firstly it took 11 attempts to get in the queue on the phone, and then you’re not allowed to pick a day or time for the conversation, so you’re trying to do your day job whilst listening out for the GP’s call, avoid your listening colleagues, and then of course they phone the moment you’re in the loo… arghhh! That’s really not the end of the saga, it went beyond this, but you get the picture. And my elderly parents have been a bit trying too of late. Enough! The Waffle is a happy place away from my daily issues, so here we are again, let’s breathe and think happy sunflower thoughts…Ahhhh, that’s better.

The sweet peas have some lovely deep coloured flowers today.

I love this little selection below. If I was an artist I’d do a watercolour of these. In fact I’d like to do this if I had more time and I had the faintest idea how you even do a watercolour. I guess you just get some watercolour paints and mix with water? Is that it? Does anyone have any idea?! Anyway, this is the little inspirational group. So many different shades of purple and pink even on each individual flower. Reminds me of tie dye.

Talking of tie dye, I read this great article about individuals who had started up their own little enterprises at home during lockdown. I saw this girl had done some amazing tie dye oversized sweatshirts and jogging bottoms, just because she was bored, and then everyone started buying them. I treated myself to a long sleeved T-shirt with an original botanical illustration on done by another lockdown entrepreneur, a young Londoner who usually works as a fashion stylist. It’s a bit big for me, but I really like the design. I haven’t worn it yet but will do so in the autumn.. part of my Fall/Winter 2020 casual wear capsule collection. Get me!

This is the inspiring article of entrepreneurs.
And here is the link to the top I bought from Rosa Floral. Nice isn’t it? It’s good to buy something creative/ semi handmade from a local seller not a big chain store.

Tonight we’re having Nigel Slater’s leek and camembert risotto. Looking forward to both cooking and eating that. I get lost in the moment stirring in a pan, watching the rice grains glistening and then swelling, the bright fresh green and white of the leeks, the cheese melting in a most glorious, decadent way. Who doesn’t love melted cheese? Well, actually quite a lot of people I think. My 14 year old nephew has a dislike of brie.. so much so he didn’t want to touch it to carry it from the table to the fridge recently. I’ll have to get my sister to cook him this yummy dish with Brie or Camembert and that will flummox him. Gorgeous gooey melted cheese, what’s not to like?!

No more fridge magnet talk today..I’m saving up that excitement for another time. 😎 😂

P.S Pointless task of the evening…. try to say the title of this blog post three times really fast… it’s not easy but it might make you laugh! Ha ha.

And then there were two

Looking a little weather beaten, but nonetheless still very beautiful, there are now two sunflowers out showing their happy faces to the sun, and more are on their way. This one below is not far off now…isn’t nature amazing? You can feel the energy building up, soon to burst forth here.

I hope you’ve been having a relaxing weekend. It’s still been quite muggy here in the UK and we had a dilemma last night whether to cycle into town or whether we might get very wet in the rain. In the end we walked to our local pub garden with a brolly and had a couple of beers outside before we came home to eat an enormous Indian takeaway.. I think we got a bit carried away with the ordering, but it was very good.

Today we’ve been scoffing delicious birthday cake made by my sister-in-law Julie for my mother-in-law’s 93rd birthday get together. It is still quite challenging trying to have a social life in the times of the pandemic, but I think the way forward is meeting up in small groups like this, outside while we can. Sadly my book club is now on pause as that involves too many different households. Also my weekly cinema trip is cancelled for the foreseeable future. Yoga classes are off except for Zoom. I still wouldn’t fancy going back to the swimming pool even if they were open again. Are they open now? It’s really hard to keep up with it all. I personally haven’t got in a car with anyone outside of my household yet, but just so you know, this is what the UK government says you are supposed to do now in order to get a lift with a friend, such a palaver!

2.4 Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?
You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, try to:

  • share the transport with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • face away from each other
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering”

I ask you if you’re already in the enclosed space of a car together is facing away from each other really going to make that much difference? I think I’ll stick to my bike and walking instead, and get fit at the same time, “win-win” as they say.

And now while the duck and potatoes are roasting in the oven, on a completely different subject altogether, here are our fridge magnets.

These are on our big fridge in the garage. This is the fridge with all the alcohol in, amongst other things, the fridge David used to look in at (most frequently) at the beginning of lockdown, to reassure himself on the essential beer supplies. Our fridge in the kitchen is a magnet free zone as the door is not magnetic, so nothing sticks there. I have mixed feelings about fridge magnets. On the one hand they are quite quirky and fun, on the other they are completely pointless really and can end up just as clutter. I quite like the fact I only see these in the garage, but when I do I find them quite cheerful. I’ll show you a few of them close up next time, unless I have anything more pressing (or exciting) to share with you all! Please feel free to share any interesting fridge magnets you may have with me too!! 😊🙃xx

Thursday’s Waffle

There is fresh air in my garden, for the first time in days. Inside the house is still quite sweaty and muggy. At least work in the office should be a bit more pleasant and productive tomorrow.

I wonder what you’ve all been up to? Having fun I hope. I had fun last night out drinking white wine spritzers with my friends after work, having a quick dinner with David in the garden and then drinking more chilled white wine and soda (oops) outside while watching the bats darting about overhead. I was feeling a little jaded this morning and got up pretty late.

Meanwhile Mr Sunflower goes from strength to strength…

Some of the tomatoes are very yummy..

Although sadly some of the tomatoes opposite these look a bit diseased 🙁.

Today being a slow day at home, it was back to the slow cookbook to make Coq au vin (more wine oh dear!). This is the marinade I made this morning.

The chicken legs got soaked in this for a few hours in the fridge while we did other things including going out for lunch at Ferny Grove Farm. Ferny Grove Farm serves the best sausages in their café and has the best view…

We sat outside eating enormous sausage and fried egg sandwiches 😋, brown bread for me, white for David. Good for soaking up last night’s wine.

When we came home I prepared the rest of the Coq au vin recipe and it’s been on the high setting in the slow cooker for the last 2-3 hours. The mushrooms go in for the last 15 minutes. It smells great.

I don’t think I told you about the Madhur Jaffrey prawn curry I cooked last week. That was really good. David said last night he still keeps thinking about it. This was from one of my newly gifted cookbooks, Madhur Jaffrey’s “Flavours of India”.

The sauce was really thick and textured and contained a lot of puréed red onions. David said it was nothing like any prawn curry we’ve had in any Indian restaurant before. I agree it was different, but good different!

I think I could just gobble up a plateful of this now. I will definitely make this again.

Other news from The Waffle household is we’ve been making progress with the great rat saga..

After visits from the pest control man and then Thames Water we now have proof it is definitely rats that have been coming into our cavity wall (behind the downstairs shower) via the drains at the front of the house. Thames Water put a special camera on a cable down and immediately saw a rat family: two adults and two young ones. There is bait down the drain, stronger than before. And we have now bought a special rat flap door. I suppose it’s a bit like a cat flap! The rats will be able to go one way but not the other, so won’t be able to keep accessing the pipe to our house… or gnaw their way into my stationery cupboard in my downstairs office which they had done before. They had ripped up all my brown paper and envelopes into shreds, for their nest no doubt. I don’t blame them, they’re just being rats and surviving, but they’ve got to go as they are damaging our property… and not paying any rent at all! How cheeky!

We invested in a stainless steel rat door as the cheaper plastic ones apparently they can sometimes gnaw through. Someone is hopefully going to fit this next week. In the mean time we listen out for scratching at night, and I remain wary of the downstairs toilet imagining they may swim up the same at any moment as I understand they are experts at holding their breath and have been known to do so … yikes 😬!

Anyway, after a bit of expense we are making some progress in this matter. Hopefully they will be gone for good. Bye 4 now. Have a lovely weekend everyone xxx

Oops! I forgot to blog

Just got home from the pub. This was the lovely view on my walk home just now. Apologies for my non blog yesterday – I completely forgot! Too much heat, too much fun.

So these are my lovely friends at the pub after work tonight. Cheers everyone! Back tomorrow when I’ve sobered up! X

Say hello to my sunflower!

This is my lovely sunflower I’ve been growing since lockdown. Its head is not that big, but it’s very tall and it looks like there are actually going to be 3 flowers on it.

I’m about 5’6”, so that gives you an idea. And no, I’m not kneeling down in this picture, as cheekily suggested by my sister’s partner. David and I measured it and it is approx 7.5 feet tall from the ground to the top of the head of the flower. I have a few other sunflowers growing in pots but this is the best one and the only one to flower so far.

So how’s your weekend been? It’s been so HOT in the UK. Still is. I am dreading my non A/C office for 8 hours tomorrow. We have a shower at work that no one uses, except me once in very hot weather when no one else was there. I had to improvise and dry myself on a tea towel as that’s all there was! Tomorrow I’m going equipped with a towel for perhaps a cool shower in the middle of the day. This may raise some eyebrows but I don’t really care…

I’ve been meaning to show you my mini art gallery in my home office, so here goes, I hope you enjoy.

This was a housewarming gift from my Israeli friend, Keren.

This silk scarf I had framed was also a gift from Keren. She went travelling to India and Nepal etc and I nearly went with her, but I think I’d just bought my flat so that was my priority at the time. Thanks for the gifts Keren!

This one below was a gift from a lady called Vicky who used to run Archer Farm B &B near Port Isaac in Cornwall where I holidayed with my family every year as a child. She saw some Chinese arty postcards in my room I’d bought at a village fête and said that as I liked delicate artwork I should have this papercut she’d had in a drawer since a trip to Tibet many years ago. I framed this as below. I’ve had this since I was a teenager. Vicky was a kind lady with a big laugh who cooked the most delicious suppers. The only dog I’ve ever enjoyed the company of was her black labrador called Friday. She passed away quite a long time ago now.

This one below is from my first ever holiday with David, to Rhodes.

We have been on A LOT of great holidays over the years. This is a tile I bought in Seville at the Casa de Pilatos. I really liked Seville.

These are some postcards I framed of the amazing artificial trees in Singapore.

This is a picture I bought in St Lucia on one of our Caribbean holidays. I liked the bright colours. It reminds me of several happy holidays in the Caribbean at various different islands.

This one was sort of a gift. Sarah and I stayed at a friend’s B &B in Somerset. We agreed that she would buy me this picture of daffodils and in turn I bought her one of ?tulips by the same artist, Susan Courtney, who used to work at the same place as me.

This is my decopatch “G”, my handiwork.

This was a present from my parents quite recently although I think they’d had it for a while. It is “John Betjeman’s Trebetherick”. It is also my family’s Trebetherick showing places very familiar to us from our family holidays there each year.

Lastly this is my little calendar. My Mum always buys me a calendar like this for Christmas. Oops! Just realised I’m still on July…

Actually, I’m not, I did turn over but I took this photo back in July. Here is August!

Right, now we’re all up to speed that concludes my mini art gallery tour, I hope you liked it. Au revoir! Xx

Day trip to Basildon Park

I was in a bit of a quandary just now, whether to tell you about the pictures in my home office as promised, or whether to tell you about our day trip today to Basildon Park. I’ve decided to go for the latter while it’s fresh in my mind, and you’ll get the pictures another time. I hope that’s OK?

A month has passed since our last day trip out of Windsor when we visited Winkworth Arboretum. Basildon Park is another National Trust place near Reading, about 50 minutes in the car today. Again I had to buy tickets online in advance at £8. each and there was a free car park when we got there. We had been there probably over 10 years ago for a picnic with my parents and my sister and her family.

On arrival we noticed how busy the car park was. It was quite crowded around the entrance with families, but we managed to keep a distance. The first thing we did was to go to the café kiosk to get our lunch (top priority, obviously!). We had a Cornish pasty and a sausage roll to share. David got some salt and vinegar crisps and we had Diet Pepsi each to drink. That all came to approx £13. which wasn’t too bad. I had a couple of penguin biscuits in my bag that we had for pudding. We sat on a nice bench surrounded by roses near the big house for our picnic, as far away from the overexcited little children as possible, as David seems to be allergic to them.

After lunch we set off on a walk across the fields. The scenery was absolutely stunning, a real feeling of space. The walks were colour coded and well signed. We did the longest route which took us just over an hour. We overtook a few people. David walks fast! When we were on the woodland walk we got away from most of the people. The few we did meet were very friendly and everyone said “hello”. I don’t think people were so friendly at Winkworth, but then the weather was not so good that day, so that affects people’s mood. Anyway, I wasn’t really there for the chit chat, but I was in a good mood so I smiled and said “hello” to everyone, whether they liked it or not!

Here are some of the pictures from our walk..the house itself was not open today.

I’ll have to send this picture above to my sister, she really likes teasels. I remember as a child people used to make Mrs Tiggywinkles out of them using the teasel head as a hedgehog face, with a white bonnet around. They looked quite cute!

We had to walk through a couple of fields of cows. I think they were young bulls. Mostly they were not interested in us (phew!). One paid us a bit of attention and I held David’s hand for a few steps. He is used to me doing this. Usually it is for loose dogs. I am pretty scared of loose dogs. My heart starts thumping in my chest and I feel the adrenaline pumping if a dog comes bounding up to me. Well today there was only one well behaved dog on a lead, so that was fine. These cows were safely behind a fence, looking at me…

This was a very strange folly type place below. I think someone lived there. It looks quite cute here but it felt a bit creepy.

We preferred this property in the background with the smart converted barn.

We also thought this house would probably do… provided all the visitors went away!

I liked some of these dead trees, like sculptures..

And lastly, here’s a sideways heart in the sky for you.

Night night my Waffle friends. Back soon xx

Sweet peas etc

Hello everyone. This is my 100th blog post. Happy century to me! I have lots to tell you and show you today, as I only did a short post last time. Also the supper tonight is already prepared so I have a bit more blogging time..yippee! Here’s the pie I prepared yesterday… Nigel Slater’s sausage and potato pie. Well, it’s not Nigel’s any more, it’s mine! And I plan to gobble this all up very soon, hot or cold, it’s usually delicious. I suppose I might share it with David…

Now, back to the sweet peas, which are looking lovely. I think my grandfather would be proud of me, although I could never compete with his wonderful efforts. These are my grandfather’s from the 1960s. The house used to smell of them placed in vases inside, gorgeous!

If you missed the blog post this historic photo is from “A trip down memory lane”. You can check out some more of my grandparents’ garden in West Sussex by clicking on the link here. I would put this post in my top ten favourite posts out of my 100 I’ve shared with you so far.

David tried to tell me the other day that my pink sweet peas would turn purple later and they were all actually the same colour bloom but at different stages. Well, this is not true! I definitely have pink ones and purple ones, pale and dark. Look!

I love them all! ❤️❤️❤️

I also still love my new home office.

I have just completed the final item of the office so the printer is no longer sitting on the floor to the right of the desk. I went decopatch crazy and decopatched the whole printer trolley in blue paper! I’d never decopatched any furniture before.

Before:

After:

This isn’t new, but I have a mini art gallery going on in my office on the wall opposite the desk. I’ll tell you more about my pictures next time.

Today at lunchtime I stopped to admire the church windows again at All Saints’ Church, Frances Road in Windsor.

I’m not a religious person, but I do like historic buildings and church architecture. This church stands at a jaunty angle and has a Thomas Hardy altarpiece inside they uncovered a few years ago. A couple of times recently someone has been playing the organ and this lovely music has been wafting out into the street.

Another one of my favourite post/s was my walk around Windsor in the sunshine, just before lockdown. It was a serene time with not many folks about as I explored and photographed local church architecture. If you missed the posts “Hallelujah” and then “Bad hair day?” which continued on with my church photos along with early lockdown hair worries (!) you can catch up with them here and here. I STILL haven’t had a hair cut.. not since New Year’s Eve!!!!… I’m now used to it longer. No stress just lots of hair slides and bands. I might have it trimmed next week, who knows.. still considering the matter! David meanwhile has had 3 (relatively) successful haircuts at my hands. Who would have thought this is what our lives and hair would have looked like this year, who would have thought….?!