Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 21: Tuesday Ten

Today the Tuesday Ten team have asked us to offer up 10 nuggets of advice to anyone we choose.  Some are general ones but I know who I'm thinking of for a few of them (but have decided to keep the advice anonymous to avoid upsetting people I care about!). 
  1. Dream by all means.  Dream big.  But ... don't forget to enjoy the journey and find pleasure in what you are doing now.  You can't get 'now' back.
  2. Don't try to grow up too fast.  These teenage years are important in forming the adult you will become.
  3. If you have the time to dream, you have the time to get on and do it.  Don't make excuses!
  4. Saving the pennies really does make a difference ... make it a habit.
  5. Smile!
  6. Treasure the little things in life.
  7. Don't allow your head to be full of negative thoughts.
  8. If you don't ask, you'll never know what the answer is!
  9. Start believing in yourself.  If you  don't believe in 'you', why should anyone else?
  10. Don't eat yellow snow!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 20: Blue Monday

I had to take another day off work again so am not up to writing the post that I'd planned for today.  Instead I am linking to Blue Monday and sharing some random photos from my holiday in Cornwall earlier this year. 

Many thanks to Sally for organising Blue Monday.

293/365: Tomato

The very last one ... it's tiny!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

292/365: Spirea

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 19: This Week ...

Sunday 12th October

Today I turned down invites to Sunday dinner and opted for solitude.  I spent the day at home listening to my body, sleeping when I was tired and eating when I was hungry.  By 7pm I felt rested both physically and mentally and ready to face the week ahead.
Monday 13th October
Monday was an early start as I have to leave home at 7:30am to reach my first school on time.  Today I didn't wake until 7:00am (I'd set the alarm but had been pressing the snooze as part of my dream!) so it was a mad dash to get ready and out of the house on time.  I made it on time but had that 'catching up with myself' feeling all day. 

I was teaching all day, then home for a warm bath and a cosy evening at home.

Tuesday 14th October

Off to see the doctor first thing.  Another tweak to my medication but hopefully it is now sorted - I have to go back again in December.  Spent the rest of the morning completing bits and bobs of paperwork and producing the certificates for the award ceremony at band on Saturday. 

A stressful afternoon teaching three classes of stir crazy kids who'd been confined all day due to the rain.  Home by 3:15pm to relax with a strong cup of coffee!! Too tired to go out again, so spent the evening reading and letter writing.

Wednesday 15th October

A really rough start to the day after a disturbed night vomiting. I didn't think it was as a result of a bug but took the day off anyway as I couldn't face the drive to work.  I spent the morning and early afternoon in bed, dozing and relaxing and was back to feeling normal by the late afternoon. 

I was unsure whether to go to the new book group I'd booked myself on but in the end I decided to go, rather than spend the evening alone most probably feeling sorry for myself!  It turned out to be my best decision of the day - quite a small group and we all got on well together; easy conversation, genuine interest in each other and a chance to find out what else is going on in the area.   We actually discussed the set book as well!

Thursday 16th October

I signed up with Slimming World in the morning - there is a group which meets in the local social club which is about 10 minutes walk from home, so no excuses!  The afternoon was tied up with teaching and then I did some food shopping on the way home.

The Meetup curry night, scheduled for tonight was postponed but I was looking forwards to a spicy meal so I went for a curry and a catch up with Julie.

Friday 17th October

Friday means teaching all day, but at least the time passes quickly!  I got home about 5 o'clock and then spent a couple of hours on housework and lesson planning. 

Then an evening at home watching Lewis, making phone calls and making a couple of cards.

Saturday 18th October

Band in the morning.  It was the annual awards so we did a mini concert to the parents and then presented the certificates and cups to the various recipients. 

I spent the rest of the day and evening joining in with Dewey's 24 hour Readathon. 
Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 18: Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

1pm - Introductory post
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Trowbridge, Wiltshire UK
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I haven't decided on my books for the read-a-thon.  I'll just choose as I go along!
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I'll be trying to avoid any snacks as I want to lose weigh, but I have some fresh fruit if needed.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I live alone, so have plenty of time to indulge in all my various hobbies.  I like reading all sorts but particularly crime and detective novels.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I'm may read a short story on the Kindle.  I'm only aiming to do the readathon for 18 hours this time - 10 hours today and 8 hours tomorrow.

7pm - Update

Six hours gone, so it is officially a quarter of the way through the readathon and a third of the way through the hours I intend to do.

I've been reading 'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz which I started reading earlier in the week.  I'm up to page 279 so have read about 200 pages today.  That's quite a slow reading rate for me but I'm putting it down to being so tired, which is why I'm not trying for the full 24 hours this time. Luckily, I'm enjoying the book and the story line is keeping me interested, otherwise I'd be struggling to stay focused.

Of the six hours, I've been reading for about 5 hours and 15 minutes and only stopping to make something to eat - chicken and mushrooms in a pesto sauce with tagliatelle and a salad.

Sunday 19th October 7am - Update

Eighteen hours into the readathon, so we are officially into the final quarter.

I read up to midnight last night making a total of 11 hours yesterday.  I finished my first book and started reading 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce.

Sunday 19th October, 1:00pm - End of EventWhich hour was most daunting for you? To be honest, I found the entire event challenging this time.  I was overtired before it even started and have struggled to keep my concentration.  That all sounds rather negative, but despite how I was feeling I have enjoyed the luxury of blocking out the rest of the world and snuggling up with a good book.
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I don't think any of the books I read count as 'high-interest'!
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  From my point of view, it all worked really well so I haven't any suggestions for improvement.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  I liked the support of the cheerleaders.  They've all done a fantastic job.
How many books did you read?
  • What were the names of the books you read?  'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz (337/437 pages), 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joycey (100/357 pages),
  • Which book did you enjoy most? I've enjoyed both of them.  They are completely different styles but both are easy to read page turners.
  • Which did you enjoy least? N/A
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Yes, I will definitely do this again, as a reader.

291/365: Fuchsia

Friday, 17 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 17: Weigh in Wednesday (on a Friday!!)

I'm a bit late with this one, but better late than never.

I've been doing well with the calorie counting and up until about three weeks ago I was averaging a loss of a pound a week.  Then it just stopped.  I didn't make any changes, was sticking to what had previously worked, but ... no loss.  No gain either, but I've decided that I need to change my approach so this week I signed up with Slimming World.
I did this a few years ago so I know that the SW approach works for me, although it has changed significantly since the last time I did it.  I'm still reading through all the booklets and there is also a lot of online information and support to plough through.  Fingers crossed that this will kick start the weight loss!
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

290/365: More Raindrops ... on Pieris this time!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

289/365: Honeysuckle Berries

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 16: Taking Stock

Angie did a taking stock post yesterday and I've also seen a few of these on various blogs, so I'm joining in ... here's my take on it ...
  • Making nothing at the moment but as soon as I've sorted a crafting space in the second bedroom, I'll be starting on a quilt.  Watch this space!
  • Cooking soups, stews and casseroles for the freezer. 
  • Drinking either black coffee or water.
  • Reading 'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz.  I've also found a couple of new (to me) blogs to follow - Going Gently and The Flowers of Progress.
  • Wanting to hear that the decorator has recovered from his dislocated ankle, is back at work and is able to agree a date for my jobs to be completed.  I just want it all to be finished now.
  • Looking for some winter boots that will be comfortable enough to wear all day long when I'm teaching, the problem being that a lot of the schools are overheated and I get too hot.
  • Playing lots of time wasting games on Facebook.   
  • Deciding, or trying to decide, on changes I can make to my working life to give me more free time and fewer expenses.
  • Wishing for a mild winter.  I have lots of plans for photography walks but do not function well when it is too cold, so milder temperatures please!
  • Enjoying the positive changes in my life.  Finding out about Meetup and joining in with some of the local events has made a big difference to me and I'm no longer spending too much time alone.
  • Waiting for a text from my friend about booking theatre tickets to see a show in the week before Christmas.
  • Liking the new bubble bath I bought this week - it's blackberry blossom and wild fig.
  • Wondering when my nephew will collect the dining room table and chairs I borrowed from him when I first moved into this home.  I bought my own set back in August and have been waiting since then for him to arrange a collection date.  I'm seriously pushed for space so need this to be sorted.
  • Loving that it is nearly half term - only five more working days and then I have ten days break from work.
  • Pondering whether to change to the Slimming World eating plan.  I need to make some changes as the weight loss has ground to a halt (no loss, no gain for the last three weeks) but I'm also feeling hungry a lot of the time.  The problem is that I'll have to commit to the plan, i.e. paying my fee, before I can find out exactly what the current plan involves.  I did it a few years ago and know that it worked then but have also heard that they have made significant changes in the last couple of years but don't know how those changes will affect me. 
  • Considering changes to my budget and planning some economy measures so that I can find the money to complete the rest of the things I want done on the house without dipping into my savings.
  • Watching quite a bit more TV than usual.  Time to find the 'off button' again.
  • Hoping that I've finally found a choir to join.  The local Philharmonic group looks promising; I've sent an email asking for a couple of things to be clarified and am hopeful that the response will be favourable so that I can get started in time for the Christmas concert.
  • Marvelling at the Tower of London poppy display.  I'm going to see it during half term.
  • Needing nothing at all, but wanting lots of things!!
  • Smelling nothing as I have no sense of smell!
  • Wearing just my dressing gown. I don't have to work until this afternoon so haven't got dressed yet.
  • Following the antics of the new Doctor Who on Saturday nights.  I haven't made up my mind whether I like Peter Capaldi as the Doctor; I don't dislike him but at the moment he doesn't match up to the David Tennant era.
  • Noticing the autumn colours gradually changing the appearance of the countryside. 
  • Knowing that I should be getting on with the decluttering but losing interest.  I've shut the door to the third bedroom and, for the time being, am pretending it's not full of boxes that need sorting out.
  • Thinking about a colleague who is being tested to see if she has epilepsy.  A scary time for her and her family.
  • Feeling fragile!  I took the day off yesterday after a night long bout of vomiting and I'm still feeling drained.  Back to work today though.
  • Admiring the synopsis for a book my friend is planning to write. If he ever gets it published I'll be buying the first copy!
  • Sorting out a selection of books to read - it's Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this weekend.
  • Buying Christmas gifts for family and friends.  This year I'm determined to have everything bought by the beginning of December. 
  • Getting off my backside to do some ironing when I've finished this post.  I need to iron my clothes for tonight - off out with Julie for a curry and then maybe on to a music night in Bradford on Avon.
  • Bookmarking lots of new recipes I've found on foodgawker.
  • Disliking the change in the weather.  I don't mind it getting cooler but when I have to work I dislike rainy days getting wet walking to and from the schools - I'm always carrying too much to be able to use an umbrella!
  • Opening boxes, discovering goodies that I'd forgotten I had!  So the question is ... if I'd forgotten them, do I need to keep them?
  • Giggling at some of the comments I overheard when some children were talking about the importance of Shakespeare.  I think their teachers would be disappointed ... I didn't know he played rugby!!
  • Feeling tired and out of sorts.  I hope the change in medication works this time and things get back to normal.
  • Snacking on nothing.  I'm watching my weight and am being really good about sticking to my plan, which doesn't include snacks.
  • Coveting nothing that come to mind. 
  • Wishing I could do watercolour paintings.  If I could choose a talent, that's what I'd choose to do. 
  • Helping out at the band every Saturday morning and still enjoying it.
  • Hearing the radio in the background, tuned to Classic FM. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

288/365: More Raindrops!

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 15: W...W...W... Wednesdays

I'm joining in with a meme organised by MizB @ shouldbereading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
Currently reading: 'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz. 

The blurb on the back of the book says: Daniel Brasher is leaving behind his job as a probation counsellor working with hardened criminals to spend more time with his wife, now well again after a serious illness. However, nothing is ever that simple. When he finds a scrawled message in the post at work demanding 'admit what you've done or you will bleed for it.  You have 'til midnite', he is horrified - then relieved to discover it's not addressed to him.  But he learns that the intended victim is already dead. More death threats signal a series of gruesome, seemingly inexplicable murders.  Until a note is addressed to Daniel himself.  And with the clock ticking he must discover who wants him dead.  And why.  Or become the next victim ... 

This was in the last pile of books passed on to me by my sister.  I've only just started it but so far I like the style of writing and the story line seems to move at a fair pace, so it all looks for a promising read.

Recently finished: 'Rage Against the Dying' by Becky Masterman.
The blurb says: Remains found. Confession secured. Case Closed.  Or at least that's what the official FBI channels believe.  But Brigid Quinn - a retired agent with a bloody secret of her own - doesn't think so.  They've got the wrong man.  Which leaves only one question: what would make you confess to a murder you didn't commit?
This was another book passed on to me by my sister.  It was a good, undemanding read which was exactly what I wanted.  I liked the pace of the story and Quinn, the main character was well drawn. 

Reading next: I'll be reading the next book group selections, one of them I won't know until the meeting tonight.  The other book group has chosen 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.

The blurb say: Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

I haven't read a non fiction/biography for ages so am looking forward to this one.

Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 14: Tuesday Ten

Apparently, the second week of October is National Pet Peeves Week so the Tuesday Ten team have asked us to list our personal top ten pet peeves.
I thought this was going to be quite hard but once I got started, the list came together very easily!
  1. People who write in library books - if they want to write in their own books that's fine, but writing in a library book drives me nuts, especially when the annotation is incorrect.
  2. Lateness - I know there are often valid reasons for being late but I have a couple of friends who are habitually late and then never apologise or phone to let me know they will be late.  I just think it shows a lack of respect.
  3. Tattoos - No offence intended to anyone who has a tattoo, but I just don't think they look good.  I hope the current trend for tattoos comes to an end soon.
  4. Inconsiderate parking - why do some people find it so difficult to park in the centre of the parking space.  It's so frustrating when the last empty space in the car park can't be used because a driver has parked across two spaces.
  5. Poor service - it's when the person serving me in a shop leaves me in the middle of the transaction to help out another shop assistant who has a problem.  Why can't they just say they'll help as soon as they've finished serving me, not leave me standing there like a dummy but unable to leave because I'm still waiting for my change. 
  6. People who answer their phone in the middle of a conversation - it's just so rude.  I have one friend who, as a single mum, sometimes needs to be contacted by her children and I can understand that, but (particularly with teenagers and twenty somethings) too often there are constant interruptions and pauses in the flow of a conversation while they ignore me to deal with whoever is on the other end of the phone. 
  7. Black and white photography - well not B/W photography itself, but people who look at my photos and then say 'what a shame it's not in colour'!!!!  I love B/W photography but rarely share my efforts with others for this reason.  I stick to colour photography for this blog and for showing to family and friends.
  8. Litter - it's when you see litter left by the side of a bin - how much effort would it have taken to dispose of the litter properly.
  9. People who talk during the show or the film - if they want to talk, why did they buy tickets for the theatre or the cinema?  It's that lack of consideration for others.
  10. People who don't have their money ready to pay at the checkout -  they know they have to pay so why not be ready.  They never seem to be embarrassed about keeping other people waiting whilst they rummage in their bags to find their purse.
I could go on, but it is a link up to the Tuesday Ten so I'll stop now!
Also linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

287/365: Raindrops on Leaves

Looking at the weather forecast for the next few days, I think there will be quite a few photos of raindrops!! 

Monday, 13 October 2014

286/365: Daffodil Bulbs

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 13: Anglesey 2015

I've treated myself! 

I'm off to Anglesey at the end of May 2015 when I'll be staying in The Bulkeley Hotel in Beaumaris for three nights.  I've arranged for a two day one-to-one photography workshop with Cheryl, and to say that I'm excited about it is an understatement.  I can't wait!

Obviously, I'll bore you all with the photos when I get back!!
Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 12: Plotting With Joy!

One of the highlights of my summers is participating in Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, searching out the locations and objects that will allow me to complete the list.  This year we had to find 21 images during the period 1st June to 23rd September - here's my final selection for this year's hunt if you haven't already seen them - and now it is a whole year to wait until the next one.
I happened to ask if anyone knew of a similar hunt which took place during the winter months and my friend Joy suggested that we organise one ourselves, so that's what we are going to do.  We are meeting for lunch during half term (in two weeks) to discuss the finer details.  I do hope some of you will join in.
Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

285/365: Euonymus

The euonymus is looking decidedly sorry for itself and is shedding its leaves at an alarming rate.  Autumn is definitely here!