My teenage son left hospital again last week. He has had an operation and it has really knocked him. He is clearly not fit to return to school yet and I really feel for him.

In fact, when he first left hospital in December after his operation, he appeared traumatised and depressed. He is a child who has not ailed much so I was not really prepared if I am honest.

My independent 16 year old became more clingy and in need of physical affection and emotional reassurance.

I am pleased to say his spirits lifted quite quickly no doubt aided by contact online with friends and gaming.

His mobility is affected and he gets dizzy if he is too active. I am impressed how he is seeking out short walks to build up his strength.

I have friends whose children are in and out of hospital a lot either with sporting injuries or because they have on-going health issues. I take my hat off to them all.

For what it is worth, I would advise any parent whose child is going into hospital to prepare well in advance. Think through how the family will operate when one members needs extra time, care and attention.

I have to admit part of me has enjoyed my son being a little dependent on me again but I do hope he gets well soon for his sake.

SMOKED SALMON and ASPARAGUS WITH DILL & CHIVE DRESSING is lovely at any time of year and perfect for a Valentine treat.

salmon and asparagus

Salmon & Asparagus_1


350g asparagus bunch
120g smoked salmon
100g Rachel’s low fat Greek Style Natural yogurt
20g fresh dill, chopped
25g fresh chives
chopped finely Zest of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
Dash of olive oil


1.Remove the woody ends from the asparagus by snapping the very bottom of each spear or remove the ends with a knife.

2.In a suitable pan place the asparagus spears and add cold water until they are just covered. Bring the water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the asparagus for 3 -5 minutes until tender – check the spears with a fork before removing.

3.Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl mix the yogurt and fresh herbs, zest and seasoning and mix well.

4.Once the asparagus is tender, turn off your stove top. Remove the pan and pour the asparagus through a strainer, being careful not to burn yourself on the pan.

5.Immediately, and working quickly, layer over the slices of smoked salmon.

6.Finish with a drizzle of yogurt dressing and olive oil and serve straight away.


Paypal password problems caused me some grief today.

Let’s put this in context. Most of my money was in Paypal and I needed to transfer it to my bank account. I could not get in using my usual password which seemed odd. Of course then I started questioning whether the password was the right one and soon the system is smelling a rat.

Of course there are other ways of getting in including security questions. I should know the name of my first pet and first school. I do but the variations I tried for each did not work.

Shall we go down the confirm bank card details route? I get almost excited that this will work until I remember that I have new bank card having lost my old one over the Christmas period.

Finally, I could confirm my telephone number but it is showing the one for my old house.

I email Paypal UK and I tweet them too for good measure. No response!

Eventually I call them. I explain the situation. I struggle to understand the English spoken by the Paypal UK representative and he struggles to understand mine!

Now my Paypal address is a bit similar to my blog name in that it ends in ice. The chap on the other end of the phone could not decipher it when I spelt it out. He struggled to hear “ice” and “c” seemed to be a particular problem.


So I try to explain that it is a play on words. That does not work.

My CV says I am award-winning blogger but that is not going to help me now.

“You can slip on it!” says I.

No reaction.

“It is frozen water!!”

I am informed my “helper” does not understand.

“You put it in drinks”

No reaction.

Do I have to launch into “Ice Ice Baby?

Ice cream or I scream!!

Through some fluke, we get there in the end.

My lesson – always update your Paypal account with relevant changes as soon as they occur.

My question – why is Paypal UK using helpline operators with poor English skills?

Answers on a postcard or do I need a password for that too?

Have you experienced Paypal password problems?

I am not sure I want to be responsible so am reflecting on the word responsible as my word of the week.

The Reading Residence

There is this niggling voice that has started to rebuke me for being too responsible.

I am not sure I want to be responsible

When I work, I put in too much effort often more than I am rewarded or thanked for.

I do about 90 per cent of the housework with the husband making vague occasional attempts usually loudly and with an air as if he deserves a medal for doing anything.

Similarly on the parenting front, it is me who educates the children, instils values and encourages debate.

Everyone looks to me for the right answers and frankly I am sick of it.

When does it stop?

Can I step off and freewheel through life for a while? How about a day of living in sunshine taking walks and reading for pleasure. Lounging around and taking time to just be. How about 365 days like that? How about a lifetime?

What makes me so responsible? Why do I drive myself so hard spinning so many plates and then wondering why I get tired?

Something tells me 2017 will be the year of radical changes and I intend to be good enough rather than so utterly and boringly responsible.

Responsibility implies obligation but I am a free spirit as soon as I choose to take that path. Will that road take me North or South? Who will I meet along the way?

Will I do something so amazingly exciting that someone will say in awe or judgement “Are you responsible for this?” and will I smile sagely and say “Oh yes and I am proud!”

In fact, I can do that now because instead of moaning on, I am going to take responsibility not for chores and saving the world but for changing my life.

I thought I would check what cheerfulness means partly as inspiration for today’s post as for a variety of reasons I am feeling tired.

Google tells me that cheerfulness is the state of being noticeably happy and optimistic. I am happy enough at the moment but more importantly I am optimistic with a real feeling I am in charge of my own destiny. I think it is a long time and possibly over 10 years since I last felt quite this way.

This year will bring great changes and I have 2 options both of which would improve things for myself and my family.

Happiness this week came from again listening to my mind and body and giving them what they need. This enables me to be more present for my children and to get things done efficiently too.

My oldest son is recovering steadily after his operation and it is nice to have him around more.

My daughter continues her mix of creative brilliance combined with strong opinions on current affairs.

My youngest son and I have had huge joy this week playing with fire!

Apparently cheerfulness also means the quality of causing happiness. I am discovering by allowing myself to be happier, it almost inevitably results in those around me being happier too.

It’s a time for snuggles and lazy hours in between spurts of creativity and brilliance.

More mundane thoughts include being over the moon that I have several bin bags ready for the tip tomorrow and more for the charity shop. I am finally working out that streamlining the house a little makes housework so much easier.

What cheerfulness means varies from individual to individual and from week to week. Will you celebrate that will the Reasons to be Cheerful blog hop?

div align=”center”>What Katy Said

How are you cheering others?