Lurgy 2; Wordsworths 0

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Spectacled owl (picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Not only did the poet have to cancel a gig a week ago last Saturday due to the dreaded lurgy, but we also had to cancel our trip to Birmingham yesterday.

He had a gig on Friday night and thinks it was a mistake, as he went into relapse. Meanwhile, my own cold grew much worse and by Sunday morning we were both far too snotty and feeling too lousy to make the 200-mile-plus round trip.

And anyway, we didn’t want to infect my parents, especially this close to Christmas.

The inadvertent “day off”, however, did give us chance to wrap up Christmas and write Christmas cards. All of the presents are now under the tree, and all of my cards at least are ready to go. I’ll nip down to the Co-op later, which is also our post office, and get those posted.

This is the first time in a very long while that I’ve been this ready for Christmas. Last year I missed the overseas last posting date and had to send all the domestic ones via first class. This year, last day for overseas is tomorrow, and last day for second class domestic is Saturday.

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My husband is a very good cook, and yesterday the lurgy didn’t stop him. He loves to have a mess and a dabble, though, and on a Monday morning, after a Sunday cooking session, tidying the kitchen is the biggest domestic chore I have to do. For example, despite having no less than 4 (FOUR!) chopping boards, he still manages to cut bread and carve meat on the worktop.

At the moment he’s growing a ginger beer plant, and yesterday was the day for bottling the first 4 litres. But before the bottling stage was ready, he managed to get sugared water everywhere. EVERYWHERE. On the floor, over the hob, on the worktop, in the cutlery drawer … and because sugared water is quite clear, he didn’t do the best job ever of clearing up after himself.

Now we have sticky floor tiles next to highly polished floor tiles – I skated across the kitchen a few times this morning – and everything we touch that’s supposed to be clean is going straight in the washing-up bowl, sticky.

The first 4 litres of “ginger beer” resemble infected water samples at the moment. Can’t wait to try those!

He also cooked stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, Yorkshire puddings, and deep-fried battered mushrooms, so there was unused batter in the washing-up bowl too along with several roasting/cooking dishes.

So today the “messy corner” was more like a hard-hat disaster zone, and it took me ages to make a dent in it. As a result, today’s work day had a late start. Sunday dinner was gorgeous, though. ūüôā

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This week is a 5-day week but it’s a fairly busy one. It’s my last working week of the year and I have one more book I’d like to get back to the publisher – I managed to finish and submit¬†last week’s book in between having a shower and drying my hair¬†while the poet cooked tea and got ready for the gig.

We also have Roy Wood to go and see in Holmfirth on Thursday night, I have a hair appointment on Friday at 9:15am (nine-fifteen!), and on Friday night we’re off to the pictures (we hope – if there’s more than just Star Wars showing anywhere) and we have a table booked in possibly our favourite restaurant.

At some point I have to nip out and get the poet his Christmas presents. I’ll also be looking back at the past year, and thinking ahead to goals for 2016.

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Today’s picture is one taken at the Matlock Victorian Christmas Market a week ago last Friday. We think it’s a spectacled owl, but no doubt if we’re wrong someone will be only to happy to help us with the identification.

Christmas market

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Quakers’ Bottom (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Well, that was a weekend-and-a-half – and we had it as a holiday too.

We started on Friday with a trip out to the Christmas market in Matlock, which was very well-organised and laid out, and parking was free after 2pm too, as it is throughout December in the town on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And, of course, the dog was welcome too.

We bought a small box of fudge for me and a ginger beer plant for the poet, and he nipped to one of the local shops to get us something to eat.

I had a fancy for Whitby scampi & chips, which was available inside the market at £6 for 7 pieces, plus extra for chips. At the local chip shop, scampi and chips cost only £2-odd! The poet had fish and chips and the dog helped us eat it all.

We chose a car park halfway between Matlock Bath and Matlock town and a had a nice, easy walk down and back. There are photographs, but they’re not on the computer yet, so for now we have another one from the Quakers’ Bottom walk last week.

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When we got home, we took the cat to the vet (again). She was only there a few weeks ago needing an emergency operation to close up a mysterious hole that had appeared in her side, and now she had a lump at the base of the scar.

The vet wasn’t very worried about it, though, and stuck a needle in to drain most of it. She thought it must be a reaction to the internal stitches and said it would probably go away on its own but we were to monitor it into the new year.

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The poet really wasn’t feeling very well on Friday either, but he didn’t want me to miss out on the Christmas market¬†and he wanted some fresh air. But on Saturday morning when he woke up he was so ill that he cancelled Saturday night’s gig. I’ve known him to be very poorly and still not cancel a gig, but when he lost his voice as well, he didn’t really have a choice.

We managed to find another band to take their place Saturday night, and then we had a bit of an idle day and evening, and the same on Sunday. But yesterday, as he had another day off work booked, we went to Meadowhall to do the Christmas shopping and he did really well.

We had to keep going back to the car to drop things off and we did stop to have something to eat too – and book our table for mad Friday next week. And when we got home he was ready to drop as well. But we got all but about 2 gifts (apart from each other’s), including something for each of the pets, so we were very content with that.

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All over the weekend we had a bit of a Harry Potter-fest. I’ve read the first book, watched the first 2 films, and played the first 3 or 4 games on Xbox, although I may have abandoned the 4th one as it was quite hard. He’s never seen any of them, or read any of them. So when I saw that the box set was available on Sky Movies for free, I talked him into watching at least the first one … and we ended up watching all but the last one so far.

We won’t be able to catch up with that one tonight as we’re going over to his parents in Doncaster to keep his dad company while his mum goes out for her annual Christmas meal with some of her colleagues. We’ll watch the last one tomorrow night, I think.

The poet still isn’t feeling great and could have done with not going to work this morning. But at least we’ll just be sat indoors this evening.

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I’ve had a busy morning so far but don’t seem to have achieved much.

Saying that, I’ve pitched for 3 new jobs already and have another 10 to consider, I’ve done some pro-bono email work and I’ve done the daily competitions. I’ve also had a bit of an email-fest as I forgot to turn on my out-of-office auto-reply and had a few messages I needed to at least respond to.

I also cleaned some parts of the bird table – one of the feeders and 2 trays. They need a good jetwash and some disinfectant throwing at them, but at least it’s cleaner now than it was so I don’t have to worry about the birds catching any nasty germs.

All I have left to do today, now, is some editing. I have 2 books in I want to finish before breaking up at the end of next week.