Advent is back!

Joandi have many advent traditions – e.g. watching trashy Christmas films, being some of the only people we know to still send Christmas cards, and of course the daily helenandjo advent update. Like a helenandjo advent calendar with one of us leaping out from behind every door.

Once again this year we are sharing my mum’s advent presents with you and here’s the first one:

Whatever can it be?

Hmm, it seems to be a dead bird, possibly caught by my tiny hunter cat Northey. Or maybe a harmless Christmas decoration. Probably the latter. Very cute.

Eventual more major victory

As Jo mentioned below, I had to return two pairs of jeans to high-street clothing store H&J recently because they had sent the wrong size due to a kerfuffle involving the store changing all their sizes to match the sizes that people actually are.  Finally they sent a third pair in the correct size.  Hooray, I though.  But my victory was short lived and they turned out to have a flaw in the dye, so they had to go back as well – argh!

I had to order the jeans online because they didn’t stock them in my local branch of H&J, but did click and collect from the store (so it too six trips in there to be left with no jeans – three pickups and three returns).  I got to know one of the people behind the counter pretty well after all that.  But I was pleased to see that on my last visit there, they had a whole rack of the previously online-only jeans – I managed to buy an unflawed pair in my size at last!

I have come to the conclusion that it is entirely down to me that they are now on sale in the Northbampton store.  Their algorithms must have picked up a sudden surge in internet-orders to be collected from that store and kicked into action to stock them as standard.  Their belief would have been further compounded when I bought a pair on almost the first day they were in stock.  But the rest of the jeans will probably now languish there forever until jeans are no longer fashionable (are jeans fashionable?) because in truth, I am their only customer.

Clever cat

Here is a video of my cat.  She has trained this human to play with a ball.

My other cat is asleep in front of the fire.

I think I have held the iDevice the wrong way round, Webmaster Matt will probably tell me off.

The Christmas Jo

I arrived home to the H&J on Tuesday 21st November to find that Jo had put up all our Christmas decorations on the Christmas Twig.

I suggested that this was a little early, more than a month before Christmas, but Jo pointed out that my worries were groundless because, although she’d decorated the twig, she hadn’t switched the lights on and so Christmas wasn’t officially ‘launched’.  This is a bit like how places like Oxford Street put up their lights but it doesn’t count until a celebrity switches them on.

I don’t know which celebrity is switching our lights on, or when the official ‘launch’ will be.

Helen’s pet photography

Here is an excellent photo that I’ve taken of one of my new cats.  I have just acquired TWO cats which is one more cat than I planned on getting.  I would show you a picture of the other cat but I can’t always tell them apart so just look at this one twice.

The cats main hobbies are sleeping, playing on the stairs and trying desperately to get into my bedroom where they are not allowed on account of me being allergic to cats and needing somewhere to hide from them (I didn’t mention to the FAR.S.P.C.A. that I am allergic to cats).  It is their dream to get through any door that is closed.

The cats have many special beds and boxes to sleep in but so far like sleeping on a chair and a window sill.

More of Helen’s brilliant wildlife photography

Joandi have been on holiday to the Silly Isles.  We saw many interesting wild animals, mostly seals and birds and stuff, although we did spot some whales/ dolphins from the ferry.  Here is another of my stunning wildlife pictures of Dave or Brian the seal (there were two who entertained us for quite a while).

Some people on the holiday didn’t think this was a brilliant photo and claimed that theirs with their ‘zoom lenses’ were better and showed actual detail like the seal’s flippers under the water, but mine is an accurate representation of what spotting a seal is like – a tiny blob in the middle of loads of water.

Why Jo must not stay in this charming lighthouse

We did consider booking a lighthouse keepers cottage in Schmevon recently, but I realised on a walk past there last week that it would have been a big error.  Even if the fog horn had never gone off Jo would have walked round in a perpetual state of anxiety and our holiday would have been ruined.

Helen’s wildlife photography

Jo is very jealous because I saw as many as four whales/ possibly large dolphins on my holiday in Schmevon last week.

Here is the evidence in a photo nearly as good as my pictures of the humpback whales we saw in Hawaiee.


My old car (and its nettle) have been recycled, most excitingly into my first new pound coin!

I was very pleased to see one, especially since it has a 2016 date on it, which I thought might be very rare and valuable, but it’s not, it’s very common and worth £1 (subject to inflation).

However I did come across an article talking about the introduction of the £2 coin, and saying which of those were very rare and valuable.  Apparently the ‘test coins’ which had a very limited run are much sought after.  I used to have some of those – because my mum worked in a bank (I don’t think she stole them, just to clarify).  I kept them in old film canisters because they fitted perfectly.  I never quite understood why I seemed to have them several years before the £2 was properly introduced, but reading this article about the testing answers that question.

The bigger question however, is where on earth are they?  Do I still have them?  Are they lost forever?  Or did I spend them?  I fear that it’s one of the latter options but I will have a look over Easter.  I could be rich!  I seem to remember I had quite a lot of them, I rather liked them for some reason.  Fingers crossed.

Signs of spring

It must be nearly spring because my old car is once again growing a nettle out of its wheel arch.  Hooray!  I hope that no-one accidentally ‘weeds’ it out like last time.

I guess I should really recycle my car so it can be turned into a racing car or some spoons or whatever they do with old cars.