What I've been up to...Brownies, crochet, and seasonal glassware

The new term has started at Brownies - I'm very glad to be Fluffy Owl again!  Our Guide Hall has been undergoing renovations all summer, and the building work is not quite finished, so for our first meeting this term we had to be elsewhere.  Keeping our fingers crossed for good weather, we hired a boat (and crew!) for a trip down the canal.  We all got a go at steering the boat (with varying degrees of success - many of the Brownies were barely as tall as the height of the tiller!) and the Brownies enjoyed waving to all the cyclists and dog walkers using the path, and all the fishermen.  Everyone waved back, apart from one cyclist who really couldn't have not seen or heard us - a couple of Brownies then decided to boo him instead!  Most of the photos I took have children in, but I did manage to take a couple suitable for sharing!

Overall, it was a very pleasurable evening, we hired the boat for £120, over half the cost of their normal price, so thank you very much to the crew!

We had a letter from the District Council:

I'm sure it was more cost-and time-effective for the council to write that letter and then post it to every flat in this block, rather than for a crew member to lift out the offending hamster cage and put it in the adjacent black bin.

One of the Brownie leaders organises the recycling of milk bottle tops - the tops get collected, taken to a recycling plant in Hampshire, and the company donates money per 500kg to our local children's hospice.  Over the summer I'd managed to collect quite a lot of milk bottle tops (friends had collected some too, Ben and I don't drink that much milk!) and so I was glad to go to the Guide hall again to be able to drop them off!

I read a lot of books last month, and so my magazine reading pile has grown slightly.  I've been working my way through some crafty magazines, as well as some travel ones, and Guiding magazine to keep me up to date!

This weekend a very good friend of mine, E, came to stay - I last saw her over a year ago, so a catch-up was long overdue!  We normally meet for the day somewhere between our homes, but decided it would be better if one of us stayed with the other: more time for talking!  She was a very kind guest, bringing both flowers and wine.

Now, Ben and I aren't big wine drinkers - I much prefer spirits (gin, in particular) and he likes beer.  We aren't wine drinkers to such the extent that we don't even have wine glasses in the kitchen.  I am sure we own some wine glasses (everyone owns wine glasses!) but they probably haven't been unpacked since we moved, as they're not a priority for us and are probably in a box somewhere in the garage.  E wanted a glass of wine with her dinner, and I was in the kitchen about to ask her if she wouldn't mind drinking wine out of a pint glass or mug (the only other drinking vessels we own) when I remembered that I own some amazing wine glasses, and I'm pretty sure I did unpack them, as they're precious to me, and I wouldn't have left them in the garage.  A rummage in a cupboard, and I found them!

 Isn't it marvellous?!  I asked E if she wouldn't mind using a Christmas wine glass, and she graciously said she didn't mind at all, and actually quite liked it.  These glasses belonged to my grandparents, and I remember when I was little I was allowed to use these glasses at Christmas time (soft drinks, of course!) and pretend to be a grown-up.  I love them.  It's funny how an object can conjure up so many strong feelings and memories so quickly.

E bought me some flowers ("chrysanthemums" said Ben.  "How do you know that?" said I.  "That's what the label on the flower food says") and in yet another example of my poor hostess skills, I couldn't find a vase.  This time, I don't even think there's one in the garage.  In the end, Ben chopped a lot of length off the stems, and they're on the kitchen windowsill in a pint glass.  Classy!  I'm not a great flower person (clearly, from my lack of flower knowledge and lack of vase-ownership), I like flowers, in the garden and outside, I've just never been a fan of them indoors (I know many people don't understand this!).  So Ben would never buy me flowers, as he knows I'd rather have something else.  His standard buy-Amy-an-impromptu-gift is a pot of glace cherries.  I love those!  Anyway, I am grateful to E for buying me some flowers, and they do look pretty in the kitchen, even if they are in a pint glass, and even if I damaged a few of them by pulling down the kitchen blind out of habit and forgetting they were there.  Oops!

In the evening, after chicken fajitas for dinner, and wine in a Christmas glass for E, gin for me, and Ribena for Ben (this is why we don't have wine glasses!) we played Monopoly.  I love board games, and Monopoly is my absolute favourite.  I love spending time with people who also love board games, as it's hard to play most games with just two people, so I was very pleased when E readily agreed to a game!

I know Monopoly can be a divisive game: people either seem to love it or detest it.  I am most certainly in the love it camp.  I know all the rent values off by heart, most mortgage values, I can move spaces on the board without needing to count them, and I can dish out the £1500 every player starts with without having to check the amounts in the rule book.

What I have also learned about Monopoly is to agree on the rules BEFORE you start playing with new people.  Every family has their own individual rules, and if you don't agree on them before you start, it gets a bit heated if you think someone is trying to fleece you out of money whilst you're languishing in jail.  (For the record, in addition to the standard rules in the rule book, the way I play is for all income tax etc, to go to Free Parking, which you collect if you land on that square; you can buy property on your first go round the board; you must sing happy birthday to the person who demands £10 as it's their birthday and that person doesn't have to give change for their present (who gives change for presents?!); if you land on someone's property and they're too busy to notice, then if the next person in sequence rolls the dice, tough, you don't owe rent even if they then notice.  There are probably more, I just can't think of them.)

So, with these rules all agreed (to be fair, E did agree to them, it wasn't me just being dictatorial!) we started to play.  My master plan (buy as many properties as possible) was working well, and soon I had both Park Lane and Mayfair.  Due to the properties Ben and E had, I knew I was unlikely to get any other sets, so with a hefty amount of cash from Free Parking (E had a lot of school fees to pay) I bought lots of houses and within a matter of minutes I'd bankrupted E.  She'd given me some of her properties as part-payment, and sold some to Ben.  I bought lots more houses and hotels, and soon was cash-rich and asset-rich.  Then Ben stopped landing on my properties, I started landing on his, and within half an hour of me bankrupting E I was bankrupt myself.  Sigh.  A good game, though, we took defeat well and Ben didn't gloat.  Too much.

A Guiding friend of mine is expecting a baby, so that means time to crochet a blanket!  Granny squares are a very traditional thing to crochet, and so I'm kind of surprised I've not made a granny square blanket before.  This blanket is going to be made up of lots of 3-round squares (not too sure how many yet, will just keep going until it's the sort of size I want, before I add a border) joined using this join-as-you-go (JAYG) method which is marvellous as it reduces the amount of sewing up at the end, and a 3.5mm hook.  I've no particular plan for which colour to use next, I've just taken out the colours in my stash which are bright and colourful, and then I choose one of those to use.  That means that this blanket won't cost me a penny, as I already have the yarn in stock.  Excellent!

Sunday morning was as leisurely as Sunday mornings should be, the bright sunshine lulled us into wearing shorts and tshirts, and we wandered into town to buy a milkshake.  It was lovely and warm in the sun, but pretty chilly in the shade.  Autumn is trying to win through!  After a quick lunch, E headed home, and hopefully it won't be over a year before I see her again!

Friends really are to be treasured.  E, next time I see you I promise to have located the wine glasses, and possibly to have invested in a vase!


  1. What a lovely weekend. Those glasses are amazing!

    I love monopoly but I agree you need to agree on the rules beforehand, I find it best to do that with any popular boardgame too as scrabble can also end in arguments. Sound like a good game.

    That boat trip sounds like fun, no girls overboard?

    1. No girls overboard, they were all really well behaved, so we were very proud of them!

      Agreeing on rules is essential - everyone does things slightly differently. I do love board games, though. Cranium is another favourite, but you need quite a large group for that.

      The wine glasses are great - there are also some similar glass coasters but they were claimed by my mum!


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