Monday, 11 December 2017

Day 116: Bits and Pieces

In the end yesterday's power cut only lasted about 40 minutes and it tried it's hardest to snow later on but it was much too wet to settle. Instead we now have flood warnings to worry about and as the other end of the village floods every year I'm sort of expecting it to become a reality. Luckily my home won't be affected if it does flood.

I'd planned to go to Bath this morning to buy my walking boots but in the end, couldn't face going out. Maybe tomorrow. In the end I've settled for catching up with bits and pieces that are on my mind so that everything is cleared before Christmas ... or much sooner hopefully.

To start with I've dealt with some overdue email replies, written and posted some of my Christmas cards, and sorted out a pile of books for the charity shop pile - either ones that I've read or which have been passed on to me but which I don't fancy reading. I'm now in the kitchen and have a pot of chilli and a pot of lentil and vegetable soup bubbling away. Once they're done, I'll make some bolognese sauce, and shepherdess pie and shepherd's pie. The pies will be finished off in the oven and I'll have some shepherdess pie for my meal tonight with the remainder of the cabbage and cauliflower, and the rest will be portioned and stacked away in the freezer.

While stuff is bubbling away on the hob I've set my laptop up on the table and am slowly working my way through bits and pieces of admin for the band. It's probably going to take me two or three days to get it all done and is the biggest 'thing' that's preying on my mind, so the sooner I get it all done, the better I'll feel.

I bet nobody else has wrapping paper like this ... lovingly made by my Thursday class as their contribution to their school's Christmas Fete. Tomorrow I'm visiting my Tuesday school to watch the KS1 nativity, so something nice to look forward to.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Day 115: No Snow!

Well the promised snow hasn't appeared yet. There are photos on Facebook showing lots of the white stuff in Swindon (about 30 miles away) but here it is raining. There was an attempt at sleet a few minutes ago but now it's back to rain.

I suppose I shouldn't grumble but I was planning to go out and take some photos of the fields covered in snow. Now I'm stuck at home and there is a power cut. Thankfully the house is warm, the phone fully charged and it's cold enough not to panic about the freezer in the garage yet. I just need to finish this post before the (old) laptop battery gives up! It also means that I can't set up the new laptop yet, which is a bit frustrating. If the power doesn't come back on soon I foresee a sudden need to visit friends!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Day 114: Music

It's been a day of live music. 

Playing carols with the band this morning - freezing cold but everyone enjoying themselves.

A flash mob this afternoon - singing Christmas carols at a fete in a retirement home.

A concert this evening - seeing Steeleye Span, who were absolutely brilliant.

I've had a thoroughly enjoyable day!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Day 113: Feeling Festive

I'm definitely feeling all Christmassy today. This may be due in part to the fact that I've now completed all my teaching commitments so my time is my own until January 9th. I still have a few band events and some other music groups to play out with, but they are most definitely under the heading of fun!

I've started on making the house look more festive. This week I've swapped the mugs, tea towels, jimjams and throws for the Christmas ones and will keep using them until twelfth night. Next week, it's a good tidy round and then all hands on deck for decorating the tree and the living room, which is a big change for me as traditionally my family waited until Christmas Eve to buy the tree. I realise that the reason behind that was all down to cost - we certainly had some weird shaped trees to decorate when we were children - but my Christmas is so different now and, for me, it's more about the build up to Christmas Day rather than the day itself. 

Tomorrow I'll be taking band practice for the beginners and then playing with the juniors and main band who will be busking at one on the local retail parks. It's going to be bitterly cold, if the forecast is correct, so I'll be handing out their Christmas chocolates to keep them going. We may have to invest in some hot chocolate as well and keep reminding them that they are having fun!!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Day 112: Thursday!

In the end, both deliveries arrived this morning via  the same courier. The reason given was that they had tried to deliver on time yesterday but no one answered the door. How this was possible when I didn’t leave the house all day I don’t understand.  Anyway, it's all here now and I’m trying to be happy about it but if I'm honest, I am annoyed. With other commitments I won’t be able to set my new laptop up until Sunday, so I feel a bit like a kid who’s not allowed to play with a new toy.

The band is playing carols outside Sainsbury tonight so I have that to look forward to. Today will finish on a much better note!

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Day 111: Taking Stock

I'm waiting in all day for deliveries. The best they could tell me was it will be sometime between 8am and 8pm for the laptop, and 9am and 7pm for the bedding! So to make good use of the enforced confinement at home I am taking stock.

That's taking stock quite literally in terms of the content of freezers, fridge and cupboards. I've already listed the contents of the freezers and once I've done the same for the rest of the food, I can start thinking about meal planning and bulk cooking. Previous attempts at weight loss were more successful when I cooked meals in bulk and froze my efforts as individual portions, so that's my way forward this time. What I'm not entirely sure of is the real reason why I've stopped doing it each time, so it's something I need to remain aware of as I embark on my third serious attempt at weight loss.

This time it'll also be supported by a sensible exercise regime, something I'd never really achieved before. In response to Lady Ella's comment on yesterday's post, I have been doing well on the exercise front by managing at least 30 minutes a day but it's no longer enough. I either need to change the type of exercise in some way or exercise for longer each day. I've already signed up to start the Nordic walking next year so that's being counted as an extra activity and I'm looking at a fortnightly exercise group as another thing to do. The biggest change will have to be with my daily 30 minute walk, looking to leave the house and find more physically challenging routes rather than my current, all on one level, walks. The positive thing is that I have already increased my fitness level enough to feel able to up my game on the exercise front whereas in the past just the thought of it would have been enough to make me give up before I'd even started!

I've been mentally listing the excuses I know I'll employ to avoid exercise/weight loss and deciding what I need to do to invalidate those excuses. I'm sure there are a few excuses but all I've come up with so far, and actually the most obvious ones, all relate to not having suitable clothes and shoes/boots to walk outdoors in poor weather conditions. Potentially expensive, but a necessary expense, so I'm tottering off to Bath next week to buy some decent walking shoes/boots. I can get 15% discount in Cotswold Outdoor and buying them now means that I'll be able to wear them in before I start the Nordic walking in January. The rest of the stuff (waterproof coat, trousers etc) will have to wait until the January sales but that just means I have a good excuse for clothes shopping to look forward to. There's always a positive if you look for it!

I'm back! You probably didn't realise but it's now about 90 minutes since I typed the previous paragraph. The lovely Gemma turned up to cut my hair, I've finished the list of foodstuff in the house, started a load of washing, and got a bit side-tracked and made a start on clearing out some 'unwanted/old/too small/too big' clothes. I'm still waiting for both deliveries! When I finish this I'll be making a pot of vegetable soup for lunch and then this afternoon will be devoted to finding more 'unwanted/unloved/it's really time I got rid of this/why did I buy this' stuff to take to the charity shop tomorrow. I also need to find something to photograph for my daily photo.

This is my new plant stand, or part of it at least. I couldn't get it all in without moving the table and chairs! The poinsettia is only there until I make room in the living room for it and I have no idea why there are two plates under the white pot of the peace lily - it obviously made sense at the time. I'm looking for a larger white pot with water reservoir to repot the peace lily if anyone has any idea where I can buy one, please.

To finish, and changing the subject completely, back in January I wrote this post about pay-it-forward. Two people were interested and added comments. I'm able to contact pixiemum and have emailed her today, but have no way of contacting Amber. So Amber, if you see this post, please will you email me with your contact details? You can email me from my profile but if you don't make contact I have no other way of paying-it-forward to you.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Day 110: Weight Loss and Exercise

It was my return visit to the doctor this morning. The results of the blood test combined with two higher than normal blood pressure tests means that I'm now back to focusing on being more active and seriously losing weight. I have to go back in three months to review progress. I don't have a specific target, just increase the amount of regular exercise and lose some weight ... all achievable and a much better outcome from the consultation than I expected.

I walked back through the park, taking a route I don't normally use. I was looking for squirrels to photograph but saw this instead ... an outside gym ...

I definitely won't be using this ... I don't think the world is ready to see me floundering around like a beached whale!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Day 109: Befriending

I've spent the afternoon in Devizes learning about Age UK. I applied to join as a volunteer after I saw a request for people to consider befriending a lonely person. It's something I thought I'd be able to do and, as they are only asking for a minimum of one hour each week, something that I definitely have the time to do.

It seems that, as with many charities and voluntary organisations, things progress slowly, all of which means that I won't be linked with a 'friend' until some time next year. They are also in the middle of changing their procedures so 'befriending' is out and 'well-being' is the way forward. It wasn't completely clear today but it seems that the voluntary role I was interested in, i.e. visiting, chatting, drinking coffee, making friends, will now change to a role where as well as doing all that, you also encourage the person you are visiting to take part in community activities. 

The next stage is to go on a course which goes into detail about the ins and outs of well-being and explains what my role as a visitor will be. I've come home from today's course feeling a little disappointed that it's changing and that it will take so long to get started, but I'll just have to be patient and continue with the process. 

Today's photo was taken in Devizes on the way back to the car park. 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Day 108: My Sunday Photo

Dash, my friend's dog


Saturday, 2 December 2017

Day 107: A Busy Saturday

It's been all about the band this morning and this afternoon, starting with running the practice session for the beginners, then carol playing with the junior and main bands and finishing with dismantling the band Christmas tree as the Christmas Tree Festival ended today. I didn't think to take a photo of the festival during the week so here's a snap taken today as everything is being packed away. I'll try to do better next year!

Tonight I am providing taxi services for Julie and Lauren as they both have their work's Christmas meal. Of course, it's never simple ... they need to be taken to different towns in opposite directions from home, so I'll be earning my Brownie points tonight. Then it's back home to watch a bit of TV (don't know what's on) and to wait for the texts asking me to collect them. It's going to be a late night!