Empty chairs at empty tables

Some of you may recognise the title of my blog this week. It’s a song from one of my favourite musicals, Les Miserables, but it also refers to our house now that our son and his girlfriend have moved into their new home after living with us for the past seven months. Of course, Wilfie has gone too as he is our son’s cat, so the nest really is quite empty now. It will take a bit of getting used to as it’s the first time in over forty years that it has just been Chris and myself… no children and no pets. I bought myself the above plaque for the wall in the downstairs loo – it kind of says it all really!

Apologies that I didn’t write a blog a fortnight ago. I was intending to tell you then about my cataract operation but it wasn’t quite as straightforward as it might have been so I was not seeing very clearly, which was a bit concerning. I’ve since had loads of tests, and a change of eye drops, as my body didn’t like all the chemicals in the original ones, and everything looks fine, so I guess it’s just a case of being patient until I get used to the new lens.

It’s also the reason I’ve not been on QVC as I’ve not been allowed to wear any make-up. It means I’ll miss the Ruth Langsford shows I was scheduled to be presenting this Saturday, which is a shame. Her Today’s Special Value is already available on presell if you like to get in early. I should be back for the two day fashion event next Wednesday and Thursday though.

As you can see from the calendar, there is a new moon on Thursday the 10th, which also happens to be my birthday. If I’m back, one of my shows that day is Butler & Wilson so plenty of sparkle to celebrate!

Talking of birthdays, one of my only trips out over the past three weeks, apart from to hospitals or clinics, was to my daughter’s house on Sunday. It was her partner’s son, Taylor’s 18th birthday and he is a fan of my baking so I made him this chocolate/orange birthday cake. We only stayed for a couple of hours – just long enough to enjoy a vegeburger from the barbecue in the glorious sunshine.

We have another trip planned today. It’s been such a long time since I’ve seen my mum in person, what with my ankle operation and then the lockdown restrictions, so I’m really looking forward to giving her a massive hug! Chris will be driving, but we’ll go in my car as we might be tempted to have the roof off if it stays sunny. I’ve always loved convertible cars – it obviously runs in the family as this was Mum and me posing with her MG Midget approximately forty years ago. I’ve sometimes mentioned on air that I used to make a lot of my own clothes. Well, I didn’t make the dress I’m wearing in the photograph, but I did make the dress Mum is wearing – not bad for a fifteen year old.

So, fortunately the weather has turned a bit nicer and I’ve been able to plant some of my QVC bedding plants out that I ordered back in March (eye suitably protected, of course). I settled on geraniums for the planter at the bottom of my new Luxform lamp post, which I think will look really colourful.

My next QVC delivery should be Grumpy Gardener fat balls (which I had to order on advanced orders as they are now so popular) and also some runner beans from Plants2Gardens. It’s the first time in years I’m attempting runner beans so cross your fingers for me.

We’ve also managed to dine ‘al fresco’ a few times over the past week to the accompaniment of the bees humming on one of the three Ceanothus bushes in our garden, which have been glorious this year. I’ll leave you with a little video of them hard at work.

Hopefully, I’ll see you on Tuesday – have a great weekend.

Much love,

Julia xx

34 Responses

  1. Hi Julia hope you will be better soon.Always a pleasure to see you presenting your shows.Glad you can go to see your mum at last, enjoy every minute. Have a lovely birthday luv Jill txx

    1. Hi Jill,
      Apologies for the delay in replying, trying to keep screen time to a minimum because of my eye. It was a lovely visit with my mum and although I wasn’t back at QVC on my birthday, we did manage a meal out in the evening.
      Thanks for your kind words
      Julia x

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. Having had the pleasure of meeting both you and your daughter, I always enjoy the ‘reads’, recipes and gardening. This time, however, I found inspiration as well as enjoyment. I also have a cataract now and have a new knee surgery coming up – same appendage, different part! I was feeling a little sorry for myself, but you picked me right up. I also always think of you in June, as well at Catherine H, as we are all June babies (I’m the same week as you). I hope your recovery speeds up and all goes well in the end. Congratulations to Dan (who will likely be very busy as we all get fit out of lockdown) and his girlfriend. I agree re: the dress. I also made clothes for my mum and that is a teen triumph! You are a Renaissance women who can turn her hand to pretty much anything and make it look easy. Take care, speedy recovery and ‘see’ you soon. xx

    1. Hi Helene
      Belated Happy Birthday fellow Gemini 😘 What a lovely post – thank you for all the kind things you said.
      So, re the cataract, things are still not great… in fact I have an appointment today to make decisions on what the next course of action will be. So disappointing if I’m honest but these things are sent to try us. Good luck with the knee op & your eye when it comes around.
      We’ve kind of got used to an empty nest although Wilfie is back for a little visit while his ‘mum & dad’ are on holiday.
      Julia x

  3. Hi Julia,
    Been a while hasn’t it, well i hope your son and his girlfriend moved in ok and are now sort of settled. And did you mention your daughter has moved house too .Maybe time for a little puppy, Just Saying !
    As you probably guessed we didn’t get to Mexico in March / April, shame but that’s the way it is at the moment. But we have booked a long haul holiday for this November more about that nearer the time ( hopefully). Remember the couple i told you we met in Mauritius well they are getting married in their Garden at their home near Naples in Florida, and having a Party moon in “Aruba next April” !! We have booked at a near by hotel. wow i cannot wait. 🙂 . We were going to go to our home in Cyprus, but now all fully booked this year with guests from Northern Cyprus and the surrounding area who can travel.
    I hope your eye recovers soon, i thought maybe something wrong with your eyes as you don’t very often wear glasses.
    I have planted cherry toms which i have grown from seed and have Strawberries in baskets, which are doing well. Also sweet peas which i soak over night first, growing up trellis. We also have a Ceanothus, such a pretty blue and smothered in bees.
    Well the sun is shinning now so time for a coffee in the garden.
    Take Care and see you back soon on Qvc.
    Love Kathy x

    1. Hi Kathy
      Nice to hear from you and sorry for the delayed reply – unfortunately my eye is still not ‘right’ so too much on the computer is a no no! (Handy for an author trying to work on edits!… not)
      Yes, both my son and daughter bought homes during the stamp duty ‘holiday’ – and both now have puppies, although I think maybe your suggestion was aimed at us!
      What a shame you haven’t been able to get away – we really miss travelling although to be honest it’s a small sacrifice if it means we can safely negotiate this pandemic! We’re considering booking something for October, but it depends what the next step is going to be with me eye.
      Enjoy your garden
      Julia x

  4. Hey Julia, just wanted to say, we have the same plaque as you, but ours is in a heart shape! and is in our garden room!! lovely words!!

    I hope you will be feeling OK soon after your Eye Operation! I had the same Op as you have had a few years ago, and yes” I was terrified!! but it turned out to be a miracle what my Surgeon gave me in wonderful clear vision!

    It takes time to heal, but it will be worth it in the end!


    Liz x

    1. Hi Liz
      I’m pleased to hear your eye surgery was such a success. Unfortunately, despite a successful op that healed quickly, I still can’t see properly. I have an appointment with my consultant today to discuss the next steps in trying to solve the issues.
      Julia x

  5. Hi Julia, Hope you are feeling better. Enjoy your time with your mum. Take care. Antoinette and Henry.

    1. Hi Antoinette,
      I’m feeling pretty good but unfortunately my sight is not improving so I will need another procedure of some kind. The visit with my mum was lovely
      Julia x

  6. Hi Julia
    I’m so glad you are feeling better. 😊
    What a lovely pic of you and your Mum! Lovely car and dresses!
    All the very best and look forward to seeing you back on QVC, it’s never quite the same without you! 😘 my other favourites are Jackie Debs and Pipa all lovely people 😘xx

    1. Hi Debbie
      Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – I’ve been trying to keep screen time to a minimum so as not to strain my eye – still not improved much I’m afraid.
      It’s nice to be missed on QVC 😊 I don’t know if you are on Instagram, but if you are you would definitely enjoy my chat with Debs Flint in my Permission to Pry series.
      Julia x

  7. Julia, I hope your recovery continues well and you are back on screen at the Q very soon. I also have early stage cataracts and it’s good to hear from someone who has had the op and is now doing well. Gives me confidence when I eventually need mine done.
    I’m sure your house seems very quiet – but you’ll be surprised how quickly you get used to it! Lots of love xxx

    1. Hi Cherry
      To be honest, I am kind of enjoying the peace and quiet of having the house to ourselves – that said, Wilfie is on ‘vacation’ with us at the moment while his ‘mum & dad’ have a holiday of their own!
      Although my op was completely fine, not painful and not that sore afterwards, my eyesight isn’t any better than it was the day after my op so I’ll have to have another procedure 😕 Don’t let it put you off though – it’s apparently quite rare
      Julia x

  8. Happy Birthday Julia, good to hear from you and hope you are feeling better. I too have a cataract but it’s not that bad at the moment. Dread having it done though. Your cake looks delicious. Hope you enjoyed spending time with your Mum. Empty chairs and empty tables was a favourite of my Dads from Le Miserables, he has just recently passed away but we played it to him in hospital.
    Enjoy your birthday. Much love Karen x

    1. Hi Karen
      Apologies for the delayed reply. I’m sorry to hear about your dad – I’m sure Father’s Day will have been pretty tough for you. I love most of the songs from Les Mis – I cried almost from the start to the finish when we saw the film & almost as bad at the stage show.
      To be honest, the op wasn’t pleasant (particularly as it took about twice as long as it usually does) but I’d been really dreading it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – fingers crossed for you when you have to have yours done.
      Julia x

  9. Hi Julia. I hope you feel much better soon. I had a cataract operation at the end of April. i know what you mean about the make up. I’ve never worn much, but always liked eye make up. This week I’ve finally decided to brave the mascara and it’s fine. I feel more like me now ! Enjoy the visit to see your mum.

    1. Hi Wendy
      I had a lovely visit with my mum thanks – hoping to see her again soon.
      I’m glad your cataract op went well – unfortunately, my vision hasn’t improved since the first week so some other procedure will need to be done. I’m back in make-up now and it hasn’t aggravated it which is good.
      Julia x

  10. Hi Julia
    Congratulations to Dan and his girlfriend on their new home together, not forgetting Wilfie too! I can imagine it is very quiet for both you and Chris, plus missing Wilfie on top…there will no doubt be plenty of visits between properties.
    Sorry to hear of your recent eye operation, much braver than I would be. Hope everything goes well for your return to Q next week and your eyesight is getting better with every day passing. It will be good to see you back with Simon on Butler and Wilson, fingers crossed.
    Lastly, I want to wish you a very Happy Birthday for the 10th June, my fellow Gemini Girl, have a great day! Lots of pressies, cake and maybe a glass or two, sounds good to me!
    love Annette x

    1. Hi Annette
      Belated Happy Birthday for the 10th – I absolutely LOVED your card! It made me laugh out loud.
      It is quiet without Dan & Katie but I’m just so happy that they have a home of their own now. Wilfie is actually on vacation with us this week as his ‘mum & dad’ are on holiday – not gonna lie, it’s lovely having him here.
      The eye op went absolutely fine, but my vision is not improving so sadly I will have to face another op and then the other one will have to be done as cataracts can cause blindness if left untreated! Just one more little addition to my list of ailments 😜
      I hope things are a little more settled for you now
      Julia x

    1. Hi Ann
      The balloons looked great – all blown up by my daughter & her step daughter! I’ve been back a few weeks now so apologies for delay in replying
      Julia x

    1. Hi Heather
      Belated Happy Birthday, I hope you had a good celebration.
      My eye is still causing me a few issues – seeing my consultant today so hopefully U’ll know what the next steps are after that.
      Julia x

  11. Hi Julia ,
    Sorry to hear about your cataract surgery. I recently had my one eye done but like you it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I too was allergic to the drops and they caused blurred sight. I am now 5 weeks post surgery and things are a little better but really taking time to heal.
    Patience I have been told but not my virtue I am afraid.
    Good luck with your eye.

    1. Hi Elaine
      It’s good to know I’m not the only ‘super sensitive’ one! I’m almost nine weeks post surgery now and still no improvement on my vision – I hope yours is doing better than mine. Ironically, it healed really quickly & was well done, it’s just the sight that’s a worry.
      Funnily enough, I have a line in my newest book spoken by a five-year-old who misheard her mum… ‘Patent is a fur shoe’ 😂
      Julia x

  12. Happy Birthday, what a great Day for a birthday, it was an eclipse day. Have a fab day, Quaffing Vintage Champagne 🥂

    1. Hi Darryl
      Apologies for the delay in responding- is an eclipse day a good omen? I do hope so – I could do with things going a bit more smoothly! 😂 Not vintage, but we may have had a small glass with our lunch
      Julia x

  13. Hi julia how are you chris dan and sophie iam well i have been back to work since 19th of april at mcdonalds in aberdeen where i work

    1. Hi Martin,
      It’s all change for us at the moment. Sophie & her boyfriend have bought a new house and Dan & his girlfriend have bought their first house together… we have an empty nest now.
      I hope work is going well for you
      Julia x

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