Back Trak

So this was last night, bonfire night. David’s band, Back Trak, played outside at The Swan pub in Clewer, Windsor. It was a great night. Lots of people. Lots of dancing. Good fun. This is what a happy retirement looks like for David, away from the corporate world he used to inhabit. He also teaches guitar part time and does some voluntary work a couple of afternoons a week. I’m very pleased to say he’s also learned how to do the housework while I’m out at work 😊. I still do shopping, cooking, washing and ironing. Not that there has been much cooking going on for a while. It mainly seems to be heating things up, waiting for what happens next with my parents.

Tonight we’re having roast pork, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding from the freezer, carrots, green beans or broccoli and gravy. Pots & co chocolate mousses for pudding. I guess I do still usually cook on Sundays. I love that chilled out Sunday night vibe, even though there’s work tomorrow.

I will not be serving my roast pork on a chopping board. I am not a fan of eating off chopping boards. Give me a plate anytime. Very good invention, the plate!

My poor Mum ended up in hospital again last week after falling into a cupboard door and giving herself a black eye. She is doing OK though, back at her care home with her new friends, worrying about her autumn/winter wardrobe and putting in multiple requests for me to get things for her that I’m trying to keep up with. My Dad is a lot of work too in different ways. I don’t mind as long as they’re both safe and there’s not a crisis. A phone call from the care home at midnight to say my Mum’s got to go to hospital (again) was just awful. Let’s hope there are no more of those ever, but I guess the reality is there probably will be.

I do hope you’re keeping well. I’m sorry for the sporadic nature of my waffling these days. I will keep on waffling as and when I can. Bye for now Xx.

Fulham Palace

Hi. How are you all? I’m not sure my last post had uploaded properly so I’ve just hit the publish button on “Autumn Leaves” again so you may or may not get 2 new posts today.

Yesterday I visited Fulham Palace with my old school friend Sarah. We’d been meaning to go there since lockdown and finally got around to it. It was the first time visiting this place for both of us. Sarah lives quite nearby and I travelled by train from Windsor to Putney and then walked over Putney Bridge and a short walk on to the Palace.

It’s definitely more of a house than a palace. It’s the historic home of the Bishop of London since way back to something like 870 AD. The house and the gardens are completely FREE to enter. Yippee!

The house I toured by myself before Sarah joined me. I found myself the only person touring the house where I seemed to come across possibly more toilets than exhibits 🤣. There isn’t that much to see inside. The great hall and the chapel are quite nice, other than that there are quite a few empty rooms and it’s a bit confusing which way to turn next.

If I was a little underwhelmed with the inside bit, the outside more than made up for it. It was such a gorgeously sunny autumnal day. There are many species of interesting old trees and plants. One of the Bishops, Bishop Compton (1675-1713), had been an avid tree and plant collector half a century before the founding of the botanic gardens at Kew. There is an absolutely charming walled garden that reminded me of Chelsea Physic Garden including a cute barrow with small produce for sale with an honesty box for payment.

I honestly had such a relaxing time in the sunshine of the walled garden, beautiful vibe, a few other peaceful people but not busy at all.

Such wonderful blooms. Wow wow wow!

There was a 500 year old tree in the grounds called a Holm Oak. It’s leaves didn’t look very oak like to me. Apparently it’s an evergreen.


The café was very good. Sarah and I both had homemade quiche and salad and a glass of wine. The cakes looked good too. Here’s the main menu..

We had a lovely table outside looking out at the grounds and trees. It was quite quiet for London and easy to find a space. I am DEFINITELY coming here again!

So what a great and relaxing day and a good catch up with one of my oldest friends. I thoroughly recommend this place 😎.

Bishop Compton introduced trees such as the magnolia tree never before seen in England. These are very popular now. I wonder where they came from originally? 🤔

Posing squirrel!

Back home over Putney Bridge. Back soon Wafflers Xx.

Autumn leaves 🍁

Hello. I’ve gone a bit crazy for all the gorgeous leaves that are around at the moment. Red, yellow, brown, orange, mahogany, rust, amber, cerise, scarlet, multicoloured little beauties. I get particularly excited about a tree with multiple colours on or an individual leaf with different portions of colour. Nature changing in front of your eyes. I love the leaves on the trees and the leaves in a carpet on the ground and crunching underfoot. I simply love them all!

Wow wow wow 🤩. I hope you love them as much as I do? Xx

Waffle tips: Stamps and tennis

Hello everybody. Mainly for those in the UK…

If you mention postage stamps changing, most people think of the change to King Charles III heads on our stamps and coins. Now that’s going to be a gradual change, and The King will face the opposite way from The Queen. Apparently this is the custom. Who knew? But you don’t need to worry about this yet, if at all…

There is another much more urgent change to Royal Mail postage stamps that many are unaware of:

From 31 January you will no longer be able to use old style stamps without a barcode on.

So you need to use up your existing stamp stock pronto, or you can swap them out for new ones with barcodes on as I have started to do. You cannot swap them in branches of the post office itself, oh no, that would be far too logical for today’s potty society. No, you have to fill in a Stamp Swapout Form to send off and swap up to £200. worth of stamps. There is another form for a higher value than this but you have to pay postage sending them this way so I’m doing mine in batches the Freepost way. The form is linked on this website. You might wonder why I have so many leftover stamps and the answer is I used to do surveys testing the post office service and I was paid in books of stamps. I did it for a few years and accumulated more than I could use immediately.

Why do we need these larger stamps with barcodes added anyway? You might think that it is to make the sending of letters more efficient but again that would be logical and the world is not. No, my friends, it seems to be more about the ability to send an attached video message via the barcode on your stamp eg to say Happy Birthday to someone. Why you wouldn’t just send a What’s app or text to do this I have no idea. I personally have never wished my postage stamps to be more interactive. The current message on the barcode is apparently Shaun the Sheep, if you are interested.

Your stamps without bar codes will no longer be valid after 31 January 2023, so get the form and get swapping my friends. Either that or extend your Christmas card list to some random people you happen to have addresses for eg someone you sold something to on eBay?? The tax man??! Your local pub landlord? Estate agent?! 🤣

The second Waffle tip of the day and much more exciting is that the Wimbledon tennis ticket ballot has opened today. So happy. I love Wimbledon. Perhaps I shouldn’t have told you. Please don’t enter the ballot. All the more chance for me! 🎾🍓🍹.

Swansea weekend away

Hello. After my Houston trip I just managed to have ANOTHER mini break! Life is good. I went to Swansea for 3 nights with some of my Uni friends. We were supposed to be 5 girls but sadly ended up as just 4 rather than the famous five as Sally had a last minute emergency at home. Sally, if you’re reading this, we missed you loads and I hope all is as well at home as it can be at this stage. Meanwhile Emily, Jo and Sarah, thanks for your great company as always in Swansea.

We had the best weather and two of our pack even ended up swimming in the sea at Caswell. Brrrrr! I wimped out of that one.

We did LOADS of walking. The Gower is so beautiful. We also walked all over Swansea… the excitement of Wind Street on a Saturday night, revisiting all our old haunts at the University and our student accommodation. We even ended up back in the campus library for a laugh!

We had dinner at the top of Swansea tower at Grape and Olive, fabulous view.

We stayed at Morgan’s, always good at Morgan’s. I love the bar area.

We visited Swansea market and ate hot Welsh cakes. Yum. Jo and I also enjoyed Swansea market pasties on the way home on the train.

Just look at the blue sky?! October sunshine is the best.

Brangwyn Hall, scene of our graduation, many years ago..

The happy paddlers..

The happy walkers..resting…

Selfie on the Uni steps.

I haven’t asked anyone’s permission to put them on The Waffle (oops!), so I hope you don’t mind girls. You all look fabulous anyway, especially your smiling faces. See you all and Swansea again soon hopefully XxX 😎

Trip to Houston, Texas

Hi all. I’m back!

David and I have been away. We spent an enjoyable 6 nights in Houston, Texas. We had a good holiday and used some of our air miles.

I’m now back to work and my busy life looking after my parents etc but the break was very beneficial and it turns out both my parents were fine without me, which was a relief. I’ve been dithering about whether I’ll be able to keep up the blog now. It certainly won’t be 3 times a week as it was originally, but instead I’ll be posting a little as and when I can.

So without further ado, here are a few snaps from our holiday in the USA. It was very hot and sunny and 35 degrees C every day. We managed to keep cool 😎 in the good A/C in our hotel, in the downtown tunnels and all inside spaces in the city. The locals were very friendly and helpful to us.

We loved our visit to the Space Center and spent 5 hours there.

We visited lots of interesting places. We went on a tour of the Astros baseball ground at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are a very good team.

We had some tasty food of course. It was expensive especially with the current exchange rate. We ate quite a lot of fish and seafood which we love. We had steak once which was nice but not out of this world, maybe as we didn’t go to the best steak houses. We saw a few steaks at the smallest 8oz size for a whopping $59. without accompaniments which is now £59. That was more than we were prepared to pay, especially with the US tipping culture which is a lot more than the UK. In the UK we usually tip 10-12.5% and maybe not much at all for poor service. In the US you can’t really tip less than 15% in a restaurant without offending someone. The pancakes for breakfast were delicious.

Unfortunately I’ve been getting quite a few migraines recently, including at the start of the holiday and today. I’m not sure if this is stress related or hormonal. I’ll just keep taking the tablets and hope for the best. No alcohol for me tonight.

This was a very interesting museum. We liked the shells, the gems and the dinosaurs.

This is an ancient giant sloth. Made me think of my blog friend at The Rambling Sloth.

We also visited the aquarium which was rubbish.. just a fish tank inside a restaurant which wasn’t even open. Nil points.

We saw a show at The Hobby Center called Ain’t Misbehavin based on the 1920s/30s music of Fats Waller. We enjoyed that. It was a massive theatre.

I liked all the murals in the city. We travelled around on foot and also using Uber. We had some helpful friendly drivers.

The zoo was good although very hot 🥵. The elephants were extremely thirsty.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed the Houston holiday tour. We made some nice memories. I’m off to cook the roast chicken dinner and talk to my Dad re house sales etc. Bye for now Xx

Waffle pause…

Hello. Just a quick post to let all you lovely souls know I’m going off grid for a little while.. Well, not really off grid (don’t be silly!?) as I’ll still have my phone and my iPad nearby, but I will be pausing The Waffle until the end of September/beginning of October.

There’s a lot going on in my life right now, including my poor Mum going to hospital again today after another fall and banging her head. She’s fine, just bumps and bruises. I’m fine too, just taking a bit of time out from The Waffle. I’m hoping to come back all relaxed and reinvigorated with a spring in my step. I’ll be back even if not. I’d miss you guys too much! I hope you find a fulfilling way to spend your time rather than reading The Waffle for a week or so. A 10 minute declutter? Go for it! Au revoir Xx

Windsor is getting busy

Hello friends.

We’ve been waiting for the crowds to hit Windsor this week and today we’ve noticed it’s started getting pretty busy with traffic and pedestrians. The influx of visitors to pay their respects to our Queen. There are people holding flowers here and there, on their way to The Long Walk, others looking lost off track and are relieved to find a local such as myself to point them back in the right direction.

I walked into town at lunchtime today and noticed how quiet it was, even though there were many people around.

I know this is a historic event, but I myself have no desire to visit the crowds on The Long Walk and I definitely don’t want to join that massively long queue in London to see The Queen lying in state. This doesn’t mean I didn’t respect The Queen, as I did, but I never met her personally and do not feel connected to her personally as some people seem to. I will be taking my flowers instead to my Mum in the care home. It’s been a while since I took her flowers, something nice and bright and cheerful for her. She is OK, but sad that she has dementia as she is aware of this. She’s always really pleased to see me and cries when I say I have to leave. I guess in her mind I’ve only just got there, she has no concept of time.

My Dad is also OK for the moment. I think he may have had his Covid booster jab today. I tried to ring him but he wasn’t picking up. I’ll try again later. Earlier in the week I got the train to Kingston, to help my Dad with some banking work to sort out transferring funds to pay for my Mum’s care. I cycled to Windsor and Eton Riverside station and when I got back this notice was attached to my bike and all the others in the bike rack..

Luckily I managed to retrieve my bike as there were no signs up when I’d left it, only when I got back – 😥 phew! There were a lot of police and security in the station, and a whole lot more cleaning than usual going on!

So for this weekend in Windsor we will be avoiding the town centre, maybe watching a bit of the funeral stuff on TV. On Monday I have volunteered to go into the office for a couple of hours before the funeral, as work is really busy and I have some time off later in the week. I’ll probably walk in and then hopefully David can pick me up before the roads in Windsor town centre are closed, ready for The Queen to return to Windsor and her final resting place at St George’s Chapel. I can’t find a picture of the chapel, so here’s another one of the magnificent castle.

Thanks for tuning in. You probably won’t see me on TV in Windsor but I’m just here up the road! Have a great weekend Xx

Goodbye Queen, Hello King

Hello everyone. We didn’t expect to lose The Queen this week, but there it is.

Rest in peace Queen Elizabeth II, the only monarch I’ve known in my lifetime (not that I knew her, of course. I think I saw her in her car in Windsor on her way to Ascot once and I saw her at Wimbledon). I am curious to know how she died and I wonder if we’ll ever know. I don’t think you can put “died peacefully” on a death certificate and even “old age” should only be used in very limited circumstances. She was lucky in that she seemed relatively sharp in mind up until the end. Did she consciously decide to stay in Scotland to die? Was that her final duty as a way of unifying Great Britain? I wonder. Everything seems to have been meticulously planned already and all the arrangements for the succession and the associated TV coverage have been superb at such short notice. The new King Charles III has stepped up to the mark and is doing his new job with the necessary stoicism and commitment worthy of his predecessor. He looks calm but I imagine he is in shock, running on adrenaline for now. How do I know how it feels to be a member of the royal family?! I have absolutely no idea.

I usually have mixed feelings about the monarchy, but on the passing of The Queen I do feel she represented the best of Britishness. We do pomp and circumstance, tradition, extremely well and it’s something to be proud of. By next month I may be embarrassed by them all again and I’ll go back to “just how much is all of this costing….?”

When they announced The Queen’s death it was a surreal moment. I was with my Mum in the lounge of her care home in Windsor, with a fantastic view of the castle. The residents around me were either so confused they knew nothing of what was going on, or, like my Mum, they were following the news with great interest and they could also reminisce about the day The King died. On the day The King, George VI, died, my Mum was in London for a job interview as a young teacher. She said the whole of London and the tube was eerily quiet. She got the job.

My Mum was impressed on Thursday evening to immediately see the flag on the castle flying at half mast. I’ve zoomed in on this photo and it now seems to resemble a painting.

“Not many people get to see this view now, like this” she said. And then we noticed the beautiful, poignant rainbow, before most people saw it in the press. The castle is to the right of this.

After this, on Saturday I think, the flag went up to the top of the pole again, for the proclamation of King Charles III. I believe it’s now gone back to half mast again now in honour of The Queen. We tried to take a look earlier, but it’s hard to see the flag at all when it’s not windy and today’s been very calm.

God Save The King! (Still sounds weird).. the beginning of the second Carolean age. (The Carolean age was only referred to as such under Charles II, so 3 x King Charles but only the second Carolean age. Got that?). And another 2 kings to come after this… William and then George. There’s not going to be a British Queen again for a VERY long time. At least it’s cool enough to wear a busby again!