29 June 2023

What I was reading in June

It's been a varied selection of books this month.  One is a re-read, one I bought (as I already had the other two), and two are borrowed from a friend at work.  My favourite was Lessons in Chemistry.  I did not want the book to end.  I really wanted to know what happened next.  I believe it's been made into a TV series and will be on Apple TV+ at the end of the year.  I'll be looking out for that.

The War Memoirs of Major Dick Winters

"Tells the tales left untold by Stephen Ambrose, whose Band of Brothers was the inspiration for the HBO miniseries...laced with Winters's soldierly exaltations of pride in his comrades' bravery."

They were called Easy Company--but their mission was never easy. Immortalized as the Band of Brothers, they suffered 150% casualties while liberating Europe--an unparalleled record of bravery under fire. Winner of the Distinguished Service Cross, Dick Winters was their legendary commander. This is his story--told in his own words for the first time. 

On D-Day, Winters assumed leadership of the Band of Brothers when its commander was killed and led them through the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany--by which time each member had been wounded. Based on Winters's wartime diary, Beyond Band of Brothers also includes his comrades' untold stories. Virtually none of this material appeared in Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers. Neither a protest against nor a glamorization of war, this is a moving memoir by the man who earned the love and respect of the men of Easy Company--and who is a hero to new generations worldwide.

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The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman

It is an ordinary Thursday, and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case--their favorite kind--leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill or be killed. Suddenly the cold case has become red hot.

While Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim chase down the clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

From an upmarket spa to a prison cell complete with espresso machine to a luxury penthouse high in the sky, this third adventure of the Thursday Murder Club is full of the cleverness, intrigue, and irresistible charm that readers have come to expect from Richard Osman's bestselling series.

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Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel–prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (“combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride”) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

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Judy, Dog in a Million by Damien Lewis

Judy, a beautiful liver and white English pointer, and the only animal POW of WWII, truly was a dog in a million. Whether she was dragging men to safety from the wreckage of a torpedoed ship, scavenging food to help feed the starving inmates of a hellish Japanese POW camp, or by her presence alone bringing inspiration and hope to men living through the 20th century’s darkest days, she was cherished and adored by the British, Australian, American and other Allied servicemen who fought to survive alongside her.

Viewed largely as human by those who shared her extraordinary life, Judy’s uncanny ability to sense danger, matched with her quick-thinking and impossible daring saved countless lives. She was a close companion to men who became like a family to her, sharing in both the tragedies and joys they faced. It was in recognition of the extraordinary friendship and protection she offered amidst the unforgiving and savage environment of a Japanese prison camp in Indonesia that she gained her formal status as a POW.

Judy’s unique combination of courage, kindness and fun repaid that honour a thousand times over and her incredible story is one of the most heartwarming and inspiring tales you will ever read.

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26 June 2023

Me on Monday - 26 June 2023

Hi.  What have you been up to this last week?  It's been a steady week here, now that the smallest room in the house is finished.  That's not to say we haven't had things to do.

Blue (L)/Innes (R)

The boys went out for walks and Innes went to his first"Big Boy" gun-dog training session (Blue stayed home) and, despite being the youngest there by 10 months, he didn't disgrace himself.  Lots of people said he was a gorgeous looking boy and had a lovely shiny coat.  Hubby covered his ears and said "wait till you see his brother"!!  Next week is Blue's turn.  I have a feeling it will be a whole different ballgame :0)

There was a trip to the Dr to ask if I could get  referral to the hospital to try and expedite my surgery, which she did.  I don't hold out much hope, but you never know.  The Dr also referred me to one of the other women's clinics, so I can see the nurse re help with my condition whilst I'm waiting.  If I win big on the lottery tonight I can go private.  Until then I'll take whatever I can get and try and be patient.

I've been finding things to do this December - I know it's still months away, but last year was such a low key affair, with us being ill, hubby asked if we could do lots of things this December.  So far I've booked tickets to go and see A Christmas Carol on 23 December at St George's Hall, Liverpool and have looked into Coffee and Carols at Liverpool Cathedral.

I've been looking at a BIG holiday for our 30th wedding anniversary in 2025, but had to wait until after the mortgage review last Friday to see if we'd have any pennies left to pay for it!!  It turns out we will.  Let the hunt begin.

There was prepping for decorating the utility room next weekend.  Lots of sanding and dust, but the walls are now ready for a lick of paint.  It's only a tidy up until we re-do that room, once upstairs is finished.

Hubby and I went on date night to West Kirby and found a lovely Tap room with live music.  We will definitely be going back.

And that's about it.  Till next time.


20 June 2023

Me on Tuesday - 20 June 2023

It was an odd kind of week, last week, with only working every other day, but somehow I managed.  Work was busy as it usually is this time of year.  It's only 5 weeks until our oldest children leave us to start their next big adventure in High school.  So much to organise.  There are leavers hoodies, a class trip and of course the leavers disco all topped off with the summer fayre.

This weekend was relatively quiet.  The bathroom is finished (photos to follow) apart from the worktops that hubby is varnishing and a blind that I haven't even bought yet.  It looks amazing, and Bathroom John has done a brilliant job.  As I was first up, the day after it was finished, I got to use the shower first.  I felt like I was in a posh hotel.  I keep looking at it to make sure it's still there.  

I made some pebbles in memory of my mum, which will be off on their travels later this year, to places mum loved.

I met my Auntie for coffee and had a good catch up.  My cousin's daughter, Miss A, also popped in as Grandma and Grandad were taking her to a party in the afternoon.

We took the boys training.  We went early in the day, as it's too hot for them to be running about mid afternoon.  They get so hot that they stay indoors next to the fan. Oh and they're very partial to an ice cube.

Thunder and rain is forecast for a few days this week and then it's back to dry and hot.  

I hope you had a great weekend in your part of the world.


16 June 2023

Fun Facts

I "borrowed" this post from Coffee on the Porch With Me.  As I think, did quite a few other bloggers.  It's such a good idea, especially if you're stuck for something to write about.

The hobby I could never give up is... Crochet.  It really keeps me sane.  I can pick it up and put it down whenever I want.  There is no expectation from it.  It really helped me when I was going through a particularly hard time, as it kept me from dwelling on things I can’t control.

My biggest role model is... nobody. I’ve never been one to follow a particular person.  I try to live a good, honest life and be kind to others.  I haven’t always managed that, but I keep on trying.  I think we all fail at life sometimes, but we pick ourselves up and keep trying and that’s what matters.

One of my favourite books is... I don’t think I have just one favourite.  I like to read (or listening to someone reading) books that have been recommended or passed along, ones that I see advertised and think it sounds interesting or ones I’ve read before.  My secret pleasure is to listen to Stephen Fry reading the Harry Potter books.  He has such an amazing voice that can keep you listening for hours.

I would love to learn how to... be more adventurous.  I pretty much stick to the thing I know and like.  It would be nice sometimes to step out of my comfort zone and go and experience the world.

I first travelled solo when I was... 17.  I boarded a train at Liverpool Lime Street station and headed off to Hereford to join the Royal Air Force.  I had no idea where Hereford was, I just knew I had to change trains at Crewe.  I must have made it there OK as I spent the next 13 years travelling the world.

If I won the lottery, I would instantly... Pay off my mortgage.  It’s one of those debts that is acceptable but is a long time in seeing the end.  I would then sell up and move to the country.  Win, win all around I’d say.

The best advice I was ever given... Always volunteer first and get it out of the way.  This was very true when I was doing a management course in the RAF.  We had to write a pen picture of ourselves and then read it out to the rest of the group.  I went first and then felt relief that I could then sit back and relax whilst everyone else did theirs.  I went first on everything after that.  Drill instruction, problem solving, night manoeuvres, you name it.  My instructor commented on me volunteering first for everything over the two weeks.  He seemed impressed and I passed the course, so it was definitely good advice.

If you're ever stuck for something to blog about this might be something you'd like to try.

14 June 2023

Easy Honey Flapjacks

I hadn't made flapjacks in years when this recipe popped up on Alexa and I thought I'd give it a go.  Surely even I can't mess those up??

Easy Honey Flapjacks


  • 225g butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 75g caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 350g porridge oats (for those outside the UK, look for Scotts Porridge Oats in the international isle)



·        STEP 1

Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and line a 30 x 15cm rectangle tin with baking parchment. Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a pan over a medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth.

·        STEP 2

Put the oats in a mixing bowl, then pour over the butter and honey mixture. Stir until all the oats are coated. Tip into the prepared tin, and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to evenly spread out the mixture. Cook for 10-15 mins until lightly golden. Leave to cool in the tin, then remove before cutting into squares.

11 June 2023

Bathroom Update - No 3

The window is blocked off, the shower area is in and the tiling has begun.  It's taking a little longer than anticipated as the walls aren't straight and the tiles need leveling out.  Hopefully it's only two more extra days and then the big TaDah!

10 June 2023

Weekend catch up

What a quick fortnight it's been.  That's the trouble when you're confined to barracks, the time just gets away from you and before you know it, it's Sunday and you have work tomorrow.  Still, knowing that it's only six weeks until the summer holidays does help.

Last week consisted of having the bathroom done, spring cleaning the kitchen, walking the boys, shrub buying and planting, baking, reading and sitting out on the deck.  Mixed in with a little laundry.

We spent part of Sunday afternoon at Goredale Garden Centre where we saw lots of lovely garden items for when the back garden is finished.  Wouldn't it be lovely if it looked like this?

The bathroom is going to take a few days longer than planned so I've worked Thursday this week so I can have Tuesday off next week.  Hubby will work from home on Monday and all being well we will be finished by Tuesday night.

I think my day off next Thursday will be one big dusting session, as everything has a layer of dust on it at the moment.

I hope you've all had a pleasant week.


7 June 2023

Decisions, decisions!

That time you set out to make one cake and end up with three.  

I had rusty bananas left in the bowl so I made banana and walnut loaf for hubby.  I fancied something chocolaty so made sticky chocolate brownies and then whilst hubby was at the vet with Blue, and I had to keep Innes company, the recipe for honey flapjacks popped up on Alexa......so I had to make them too.

It was the first time I did them all in the air fryer and I have to say they came out really well.

4 June 2023

Bathroom Update - No 2

It's coming along nicely.  Hubby had already taken most of the wall down and everything else was out and three layers of tiles were off within two days.  There was lots of banging and crashing and at one point I thought the ceiling would fall down, but thankfully not. 

Day three saw the pipework going in and the toilet door being taken off.

It will be worth it.  It will be worth it. 

2 June 2023

Bathroom update - No 1

It's half term this week and this year, instead of having time away, we are having a new bathroom fitted.  It's been all go and unfortunately we're going to be without the shower for a few days.  Luckily we have a downstairs loo and the local leisure center where we can go for a swim/use the gym and have a shower afterwards.

The original 1970s loo and bathroom!!

I just keep telling myself that it will be so worth the upheaval to have a gorgeous new bathroom.

1 June 2023

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt - 2023

It's June already and that means it must be time for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt, kindly hosted by Patio Postcards

I haven't done one for a few years so I'm looking forward to getting back into it.  I'm hoping that a shorter list means I actually finish it this year.  Why don't you pop over and take a look.

2023 Summer Scavenger Hunt / Search Ideas

1. A Plant/Tree With Thorn(s)

2. A  Wordless Directional Sign

3. Something Netted or Webbed

4. Something Berry Berry Delicious

5. A Bridge

6. A School

7. Something That Dangles

8. Some Shadows

9. A Crack or Pothole in The Road or Sidewalk

10. A White Flower(s)

11. Extraordinary Water 

12. Summer Tools

13. A Sold or For Sale Sign (not necessarily a house)

14. Something That Rolls

Alternate A: Your Favourite Summer Taste

Alternate B: Your Choice