Saturday 20th February - ELO

As it was a sunny day, we walked up to town. We had a look around the toy shop first. We hadn't been there since it had moved. There's some good stuff in there. We also went to the book shop nearby too. I must remember to look out for the Haunted Castle book again some time. We bumped into Bernie and then we all went to MacDonalds for MacDinner! We like MacDinner. Afterwards, we went to the jewellers, a few other book shops and HMV. In Waterstone's I saw a book that one of the girls at work would find useful as she had mentioned that she might be getting a laptop at home but I think I would have been in trouble if I bought it for her. It was called Laptop Basics for the Over 50s!

On the way home, we went into the pet shop in Beaver Road as we often do so that Dave can brood over the snakes. We were both fascinated by the African Pygmy Hedgehogs. We spoke to the owners about life expectancy and other care. They gave us an interesting care sheet. They would make a really good pet. Our only reservations about getting one are the costs and if we could get someone to look after them if we were away.

In the evening, we went to the Sinden Theatre in Tenterden to see “The ELO Experience”. They are a brilliant tribute band. Kat came too which was surprising. She said that she enjoyed watching us more than what was going on down on the stage. She only recognised one of their songs and there was one other that she said she “liked”!! I think that was “Wild West Hero”. Dave sung the whole way through. Guess he'll have a sore throat in the morning.

Week beginning Monday 15th February

Monday 15th – Tonight was the official start of the bowling league. We are back to 8 teams again which is good. Batty and I had a practise/pre-bowl game which went OK. I was able to beat him 6-2 which is due to his new bowling style. I have to make the most of when I win now, it won't last!!

Tuesday 16th – This evening when I got back from picking Baerbel up, I came home to a full house. It's good to see lots more friends on Tuesdays these days. It's been a bit quiet of late. We watched another episode of Heroes. One with George Takei in.

Wednesday 17th – After work I went to Asda to find something for dinner. I chose meatballs and then bought some tinned tomatoes and vegetables to make a sauce. I also had to open a bottle of wine to help cook the meatballs. One of my favourite sayings “I like to cook with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food. I was quite pleased with how the meatball dish turned out. Another one to try again one day. We watched the Igor film that I've recently recorded. Dave had every intention of only watching the beginning but stayed until the end. It was better than expected. It had some great lines in it.... “evil lasagne” :)

Thursday 18th – As is usual with half term week, Maria invited me to go to their house for Chinese, with the excuse of celebrating Chinese New Year. The Chinese was from the Golden Gate in Cheriton and is definitely the best. Jose had made madeira cake in the bread maker machine which was very good. Lovely hot with ice-cream. Enrique had got the new Up film from Blockbusters this week and dragged me off to watch some with him. It looks good and he obviously loves it as he had been watching it for two days. Must get to see it properly one day. I started watching the Winter Olympics as there was nothing else much on TV later. I've not really followed it before but I got quite into it. The Olympics are being held in Vancouver. It was the female Bob Skeleton event that was on. The speed they travel down the track is amazing. I have to use my brakes going down a hill on my bicycle. There is no way you would get me to lay on board about 6 inches off the ground and fly down an icy track, head first at 100km+ per hour.

Friday 19th – I was invited to an Ann Summers Party. It was at a friend's house that I hadn't been to before. The numbering on the long road was really difficult to work out and it took me about 20 minutes to find the address. Eventually I found it. As there were only a few of us there, we didn't have a proper demonstration, just wine and a laugh. When I got home I watched some more of the Olympics. The BBC presenter had a go down the track and really enjoyed it but it's still not for me! Each contestant does 4 runs and it's the combined shortest time that wins. Amy Williams got a gold for Great Britain. Tonight her two runs clocked 53.68 and 54.00 making a combined time of 3:35.64 minutes.This is only our ninth gold medal in Winter Olympic history.

Sunday 14th February 2010 - Valentine's Day

I woke up to the sight of a red envelope on the bedside table. If only I was that organised. I was accused of having to rush to the shop to buy one but I’m not that bad. I just had it downstairs. My card even sings to me..... apparently “you’re gorgeous”!!

A quiet morning probably wasted on the computer and then off to Tesco for the usual re-stock. There was time before I had to start preparing the Sunday roast for us to go down to the garden centre at Ham Street for an outing. Again I’ve been to a garden centre and forgot to pick up some food for my orchids. I guess they won’t need them for a while anyway as they are both flowering. One of them was a birthday present and is budding again. The other one has been in flower since I got it before Christmas from the Pamper Day event. It was intended for a Christmas present but I fell in love with it so kept it. I loved the colours especially as it matches my front room. Yet where do I keep it? In the kitchen with the other plants. I have four plants at the moment: the two orchids; my annual Christmas Poinsetta from my mum which is still alive; and a plant that I got for my birthday a couple of years ago. It’s never flowered again, it’s just got about 3 times bigger. Must remember to show CA and Brian when they come over next.

Bowling was fun, even though we lost 8-nil. We start the league in 7th place, out of 8. Sara was playing particularly well. She can kiss her high handicap goodbye. She was playing off a 68 handicap from last season and now it has gone down to 46. Although my handicap has gone from about 50 down to 42 as my games were OK, my main handicap (sorry, Bat) was my team partner who is learning a new bowling style. His handicap went from about 49 to 65. His bowling should improve dramatically now though as he gets used to bowling “properly”. I guess I’m going to get told off for saying this :) He has also ordered a new ball which will take time to get used to when he gets it.

Saturday 13th February 2010

I was stirred from my comfy pit by the arrival of the Everest man who had come to repair the front door. It was not sealing properly and needed to have the handle pushed up fully to stop the draught coming through. He made some minor adjustments to the metal work in the frame, oiled the hinges and off he went. I’m not sure it is ”fixed” as now you have to close the door really tight to get the door to lock into the catch but it is better than it was. For the rest of the morning, I spent far too long on my PC to get anything sensible done. Very soon it was time for me to rush around to get ready as we were walking to Chris’s via the town. Martin joined us and we went to MacDonalds for lunch. We didn’t have time for any other shopping as it was 1 o’clock when we went to Iceland.
At Chris’s we had a fun afternoon playing pinball and Wii. I’m not sure if I’ve got a favourite pinball table. I like “Dracula”, “Bride of Pinbot”....she can speak you know, “Revenge of Mars” and “Star Wars”. I’m not playing the new table as it is a boxing one which I’m not interested (Sorry, Chris!). I’m quite happy playing the others. The muscles in my arms are going to ache for a while. Pinball finds muscles that don’t get a lot of use. Glenn made some lovely tacos. We got through a couple of bottles of wine. Kat thrashed me at tennis on the Wii. We would have loved to have stayed longer but we had received an invitation to dinner in the evening with Brian and Rachel.

It was a lovely evening. Starter was crispy french breads with home made salsa topping. Main course was freshly cooked veal with potatoes, mange tout and carrots. I’ve not tried cooking with pine nuts before. I must try this one day. Dessert was a home made pear and syrup pudding. It was very sweet but not heavy. As one who doesn’t generally eat much, I hardly left anything. The wine, also Asti and Champagne, was flowing all night. All of this was followed by port and cheese. An altogether very civilised grown up time. We should have more dinner parties.

Thursday 11th February 2010

It snowed heavy overnight. Another 4-6 inches in places. Thankfully the car was easy to clean off. Why do some people not think to clean their lights too? I left for work later than I intended and it took about half an hour so I was late again. At least I made it in though. Some didn't. The City Link drivers didn't show later so I had to go down the their office again. In the evening, as Dave was on the late shift, I made us chicken in white wine sauce. As I had some honey that needed using up, I decided to make a cake. I found a recipe in my favourite set of books for Devonshire Honey Cake. I halved the ingredients as I didn't have the full amount of honey. Dave and Dan love it. Here is the original recipe in case you'd like to try it:

225g/8oz unsalted butter
250g/9oz clear honey, plus about 2 tbsp extra to glaze
100g/4oz dark muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
300g/10oz self raising flour

Takes 1 ½ hours / Serves 12

Preheat the oven to 160 C/Gas 3/fan 140 C
Butter and line a 20cm/8in round loose-bottomed cake tin
Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar
Melt slowly over a low heat
When liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about 1 minute
Leave to cool

Beat the eggs into the cooled honey mixture using a wooden spoon
Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating until you have a smooth batter

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until the cake is well-risen, golden brown and springs back when pressed

Turn the cake out on a wire rack
Warm 2 tablespoons of honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to glaze
Leave to cool

Wednesday 10th February 2010

The snow came back again today. It was a bit scary driving home. It took me over half an hour. Kat was waiting for me for a lift back from college but she gave up and walked home, and got there before me.

During the day, Christine had a phone call from her father in St Albans. On his way home, he was approached by an Italian guy in a car asking for directions to Luton Airport. After he had given him the directions the guy then offered him 3 leather jackets as a “present”. He then went on to offer him a jacket in his wife's size for £150. As he only had a small amount in his wallet but had a credit card. So the guy walked with him to the local Waitrose and waited while he took out the £150. It dawned on him afterwards, how stupid he has been, but at least he is not injured. He has now lost £150 and is the not so proud owner of 4 fake leather jackets. I had a search on the internet to see if this had reported as happening anywhere else. It appears that this scam has been going on for a while and has even been on the “Big Hustle” TV show.

From Money Saving
There is a scam going on at the moment which unfortunately my husband got stung by yesterday.
He is not stupid by any means and is a company director but so good is this con artist that he got caught.
Coming out of car park in Coventry, an italian man approached him with a story about how he was on his way back to Italy after attending a fashion conference at the NEC ( this conference did happen and La moda did exhibit the rep).

He said he was a rep for la moda and he just had these 4 jackets left over at the end of the show. He was on his way to the airport and did not want to pay excess luggage to take them home but would my husband consider having them for the price of his hire car (£260).
the jackets looked good ( or the 2 he looked closely at ) and the guy was very plausible with a seemingly soft sell. He also showed him his passport and pictures of wife and family.
He parted with the money and then rang me. As soon as i put reportage jackets into google it came up with scambusters website with similar stories from around the world. The jackets are PVC not leather and certainly not Armani. Please beware. If this post stops one of you falling for same then i have not wasted my time.
Posted ? Feb 07

Loading up my shopping in Tesco's car park this morning, approached by a guy in a green P reg Rover. I would guess him to be late thirties black hair with a thick Italian accent. He told me that he had just been to a sales exhibition, was going back to Italy tomorrow and didn't need his samples anymore. Showed me a boot full of jackets apparently suede and leather, said he wanted to give them to me. He said that they retail at £150 and that I could have four for that price. I'm afraid I got suckered in but luckily only had twenty quid on me. He said that I could have one for that. So I bought this "suede" jacket for £20.

I knew it wasn't on the up and up, I just got greedy. I put it on when I got home, and to be fair, it's styled for a younger man (without a belly) not my middle aged paunch. My wife turned her nose up at it . Well I could always eBay it, well perhaps not, it's not real suede and there were many similar for under a tenner.

With a little research this evening I have found that this is a worldwide scam and has been going on for a number of years.

Moral of the story, If the deal is too good to be true, it's probably not true.

Now does anyone want to buy a tan suede jacket from a famous Italian fashion house? I'll make you a special deal.
Also 2007

Another one from July 2007:

Tuesday 9th February 2010

I went to a Partylite meeting in Swanley today. Love my sat nav. I wouldn't want to go anywhere without it nowadays. Even so, I still take printed instructions, aka “scrat nav”! It seemed strange driving up the motorway and seeing the snow on the hills but no where else. It's was a good meeting with training on getting bookings, sponsoring and doing parties, etc. I bought a couple of £5raffle tickets. All of the tickets are a guaranteed win but what you win is the luck of the draw. My first prize was a grapefruit fresh handwash and hand lotion set. This is £20.50 in the latest catalogue. My second prize was even better. It is a global fusion hurricane. This is something that I should have got when I joined two years ago but somehow missed out, and in the excitement of getting my new kit I didn't realise until over a year later. This is nearly £58 in the new book. So, all in all, I did ok.

After the meeting, I went straight to Sevenoaks. As I got there earlier than intended, I didn't expect to find anyone home. I was going to check that I knew how to get there and then go shopping. However, my friend was home. She had had an accident in her car in the morning, barely getting off the drive. The handbrake had been getting stuck in the very cold weather. So, the night before, she had parked the car in first gear with the hand brake off. In the rush to get out in the morning, the way that all busy parents can associate with, the kids were already in the car and she needed to go over the road to speak to her friend. In her rush she turned the key on the car, the car lurched forward and kept going across the road, through the friend's fence and into the side of the house. There was nothing she could do to stop it. Luckily they are very good friends. I always assumed that the car would have stalled when started but I tested this on my car when I got back to Ashford. Even on the flat it actually moves forward scarily fast.

Monday 8th February

I couldn't believe it when I saw it was snowing again today. I got the blame for it of course as I have another training meeting to go to tomorrow. At least it didn't settle on the roads, etc.

The bowling meal went well. We went to the White Horse in Willesborough. They don't usually serve food on Mondays but as the pub is owned by family of a couple who bowl, they asked the staff to come in specially. The food was really good. I had garlic mushrooms for starters, lamb hotpot followed by banoffee pie. I surprised myself at how much I ate but couldn't finish all of the banoffee pie. Everyone seemed pleased with their trophies and money prize envelopes.

Sunday 7th February 2010

A quiet day nursing a little hangover. I spent a lot of the day sorting out certificates and prize money for the bowling league. Tomorrow night the bowlers are meeting up for our end of season dinner. Instead of doing certificates just for the winners I decided that everyone should have a certificate with the targets they achieved for the season. This would give everyone something to beat in the future. Although as a team we finished in 2nd place, we didn't get any high award prize money for the team or any individuals. Not one of my better seasons, especially seeing as I've been bowling regularly for over 10 years now.

My top scores on my certificate were as follows:
Average of 135
High Scratch Game of 177
High Handicap Game of 231 (that's scratch score plus the handicap)
High Scratch Series of 447 (that's over 3 games)
High Handicap Series of 609

Saturday 6th February 2010 - Dover Beer Festival

The duvet still pinned me down today even though I knew I was getting up to go in search of beer rather than work. When I was nearly ready to go, I asked Dave to go to Brian's as agreed and then I'd catch up with them on the way. They hadn't left by the time I was ready so I went round there too and we walked up together. Steve and Matt met us at the station. Later we added to our numbers at Folkestone Station. On arrival at the beer festival, 2 more friends were in the queue already so we joined them. This was the first time that I'd been to this one. Dave has been trying to twist my arm for years to go with them. I think I only had two pints there. I started with the Double Stout (Westerham) as Dave recommended. “Rich stout made with coloured and roasted malts. A beer with dark fruits and smooth body followed by a hint of bitterness”. My choice next was Nutz (Bowman): “Aroma of chestnuts, chestnut flavours and chestnutty in colour. Which is as it should be, as it is brewed with organic chestnuts. May contain nuts!” My next selection was Crackle (Tipples): “A real winter warmer. Dark malty swirls and fruity hop notes with a burst of whole spice”. The guy serving said “if you like Christmas pudding, you'll love this” and he was right. Christmas pudding in a glass. So my fourth half was also Crackle. I'll have to keep a look out for this one in future.

Early in the afternoon, we returned to Folkestone, stopping for a drink in the Park Inn by the station, possibly the worst drink of the day, then onto the Lifeboat where we had some dinner. I had chilli and rice. Not bad for £4! Brian left us mid-afternoon, then we were back to 6. As England were playing Wales, the pub served up a lamb casserole a bit later, (Welsh lamb, of course) with bread rolls. After the meat dish had all gone and we were still tucking into the bread, some brie appeared, as if by magic! We decided to move on to another lesser known pub nearby which I think is the East Cliff Tavern. I decided that I'd had more than enough to drink during the day and switched to lemonade. We played darts and then we caused havoc getting the piano cleared so that some could show us their skills. They weren't very keen to play in front of strangers but were persuaded briefly. Soon it was time to find our way home. Back to the station for a chilly wait for the train. There were no benches or waiting rooms on the platform, and the toilets were closed. Once we were on the train, I noticed that I'd lost my mobile which upset me. I later phoned a friend who was still in Folkestone and he went to the pub where we last remembered seeing it. Thankfully it was still under the table so it will be returned to me tomorrow. What a relief!!

Friday 5th February

We managed to persuade our manager that we needed cakes today as it's Friday. She bought us carrot cake at lunch time which was very welcome after the hectic week we've had. I had to go to City Link offices after work again. That's 3 days in a row that I wasn't ready when the driver arrived at 4pm. We have an agreement with our usual driver so that he comes to us later than originally agreed but he was on holiday this week so we have to fit in around the other drivers.

This evening, Dave and I watched some new episodes of Shaun the Sheep. It is funny. I recommend it if you haven't seen it before. It is a Nick Park production like Wallace and Gromit. Shaun is the mischievous one of the flock. Then there's the dog, Bitzer, that rules them and keeps the farmer from seeing their antics. Look out for Shirley the sheep that eats everything and the baby Timmy with the dummy. Very cute.

I'm now watching “Artificial Intelligence” in my attempt to re-watch our DVD collection. If I come to one that I don't want to watch again, then I'm not going to keep it. I've seen this one a couple of times before. It usually makes me cry so I prefer to watch on my own. It has Jude Law in it too. Another of my favourite actors. Dave said “Oh, it's the film that didn't know where to end!!” It is over 2 hours long. Even so I will watch it again.

4th February 2010

I've just completed another jigsaw. It was another “Wasgij” one - a Destiny airport scene. I'll see if Martin or anyone else wants to borrow it before I return it. It was fun to do. Not sure what one I'll do next. I also need to decide what book to read next as I've also finished reading “Concertina” this week. That was an interesting read. It was a true story about the life of a dominatrix working in London. She was also a trained chef and the writer switched between the two “interests”. I've also watched two films today. Journey to the Center of the Earth, starring Brendan Fraser, and Stardust. I've seen both films before and they are in my top favourites. with Brendan Fraser. We watched Inkheart last week that also has Brendan Fraser in it. A lot of my favourite films seem to have him in, for some strange reason.

Last night I went to a Partylite Unit Training Meeting which was very good. There wasn't many of us there last night. As a consequence, I was awarded a pillar candle for having the top sales in January of those there. I think I was possibly 5th or 6th. It is one of the new fragrances РPure Vanilla Cr̩me. Lovely!

Now on with the Bones DVD box set that I've borrowed! I've started from the beginning as I wasn't sure how many I'd seen. Season 1, disk 2.... I've not seen these ones!