Monday, 2 May 2016

Memorandum Monday

It's a rather mixed set of first times and new things this week.

I tried lime and chilli flavoured popcorn for the first time - strangely moreish, and luckily low in calories.

I learnt a new fact ... that it is thought that it wasn't until relatively modern times that people were able to see the colour blue.  You can read about it here if you are interested.

I saw Sean Lock on stage for the first (and last!) time on Friday night.  I'd been looking forward to seeing him for ages but was slightly disappointed by his act, which wasn't as funny as I'd been expecting from seeing him on TV. I wasn't the only one, as a few people walked out during the second half.

For the first time ever I actually made one of the recipes I'd saved on Pinterest - a kale, tomato and quinoa soup which tasted much better than it sounds!  Am I the only person who saves lots of ideas on Pinterest and then promptly forgets all about them?

Hope you all have a lovely Bank Holiday Monday and a good week to follow.

Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful in April

I'm joining in with Ella's 'Reasons to be Cheerful', looking back through April to remember the highlights and the little things that brightened the month.

  • Enjoying the progress the new beginners have made in the youth band. Four of them are nearly ready to be promoted into the junior band and the rest are not far behind. It's always a good start to the weekend, spending time with enthusiastic children and sharing their delight as their playing improves bit by bit.
  • Attending a singing workshop and bumping into a friend I'd lost touch with. We didn't have much time to chat on the day but we've exchanged numbers and will be meeting up towards the end of next week.
  • Watching the changes announcing that Spring has arrived as I explore the village on my early morning walks, and ...
  • ... feeling the benefit of losing weight and starting to feel fitter. The effort is paying off and I'm beginning to feel better in myself.
  • Being given a brand new Pentax DSLR with three lenses and numerous filters - an unbelievably generous gift from people I don't know very well but who knew I'm interested in photography.
  • Absolutely loving my new car.  Driving is fun again!
  • I've managed some more decluttering during April.  It's mostly paperwork and teaching resources that I no longer need but its disposal is freeing up a lot of space around the house and I feel 'lighter' in myself as a result.
  • Keeping to my promise to have fresh flowers in the house makes it feel more like a home for some reason.  I've been treating myself to a fresh bunch every week.
  • Enjoying some fun outings, seeing Mamma Mia, Sean Lock, Altan, and Shakespeare Live! 
  • The kitchen/cloakroom improvements have started!! It's currently at the 'looking worse before it looks better' stage, but it should be finished next week.  I can then put all the stuff back where it belongs and reclaim my living room ... can't wait!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I haven't read any new books this week but I have been reading through music scores to find some new music to play.

Watched | I went to see Bastille Day (excellent film) and also the Shakespeare Live event to celebrate the 400th anniversary.  I wasn't sure what to expect but thoroughly enjoyed it, although ... am I the only person who thought it would have been better without Catherine Tate?  I also started watching 'Undercover' and 'Hinterland' on iPlayer. 

Heard | I went to see Altan, an Irish folk group, at the Wiltshire Music Centre earlier this week.  I was overtired and not really looking forward to it, but in the end, it turned out to be a brilliant evening.  A group I'd definitely go to see again if I ever have the chance. 

Made | I've made room in my wardrobe for some new clothes.  I did the 40 items to charity for Lent but I've carried on sorting and have let lots more things go.  It's time for a change now I'm retired - I don't need as many outfits for when I'm teaching but do need a lot more casual clothes.

Worn | I've worn a lot of red this week.  It seems to have suited my mood!

And Lastly ... I'm off the see Sean Lock (the comedian) at the Colston Hall in Bristol later tonight.  I've had the ticket for ages and I'm excited to see him live ... hope he lives up to my expectations!

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Memorandum Monday

Waving to all my fellow Mondayers and asking if you can guess what my new thing is this week?

... it's black and shiny

... it's on my drive, and

... the photo is the biggest clue!

I bought my new (to me) car home on Friday .... a Renault Clio which is in immaculate condition and has very low mileage for its 2011 plate.  Sorry about the quality of the photo - I'm not very good at photographing black, shiny things! I haven't done any long journeys in it yet but, just from the short trips I've done around town, I know I'm going to enjoy driving it. It has a factory installed sat nav that I still have to work out how to use and update, but I've managed to retune the radio to my favourite station so that's the most important thing done!

Thank you to Sian for organising this link up and hope you all have a lovely week.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I'm reading the info provided in a FutureLearn course I've been doing for the past 6 weeks - 'Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree'.  This is the final week of the course and I've learnt such a lot from it - it's rekindled my enthusiasm for the subject so I will be renewing my subscription to Ancestry in the near future.

Watched | I went to see Jungle Book and loved every minute of it. I hadn't been too keen at first as I couldn't see how it could possibly improve on the original Disney version, but it was brilliant.

Heard | I've been listening to a talking book as I've been driving around.  It's the 'Talking Heads' series by Alan Bennett.

Made | I've made progress in my search for a new car and am off to view a Renault Clio in about an hour. I went round various garages, sat in the cars on my short list and the Clio came out as my favourite.  The one I'm looking at is black, which isn't the red I was thinking of, but it is a much higher specification with very low mileage so that's the only compromise.

Worn I'm worn out, getting the house ready for the workmen to start next week.  Kitchen, electrics, plumbing, cloakroom, hall and study flooring will all be finished in about two weeks.  In the meantime the contents of the dining room, kitchen cupboards and study are packed into the living room and one of the bedrooms, so the whole place just looks a mess.  I keep telling myself it will be worth it.

And Lastly ... I'm treating myself to a new-to-me lens for my camera.  I'm buying it from one of my friends in the camera group and have had it on loan for the last two weeks.  It's a Canon 100 - 400 mm lens, and I'm buying it so that I can have a serious attempt at bird photography.

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


I've been out in the garden hunting for photos to share with you for Helena's SNAP! meme this week. I've found some pretty reminders of how lovely nature is; there are three showing promise of what is to come and the fourth is a reminder that the beauty remains even after the showy flower petals disappear.

My favourite clematis has lots of buds ...

... and the pieris is getting ready for its display of delicate pink flowers

The hydrangea is looking less dead (that's a horticultural term!) and is covered in buds .....

.... and a summer snowdrop, holding on to its last petal, is still adding colour and interesting shapes to that part of the garden. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Memorandum Monday

Waving to you all on an overcast Monday morning and hoping that it stays dry for the rest of the day as I have lots of tidying to do in the garden.

It's been another busy so I do have a few 'new' and 'first' things to report.  I've already written about one of them - drawing zentangles for the first time and adding a new hobby to my list.

Yesterday I went on a singing workshop run by Helen Yeomans.  It's not the first time I've been to a workshop like this but it is the first time I've been to one organised by Helen. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon and I was over the moon to see a familiar face in the room - a friend I used to work with but we'd lost touch about 12 years ago when we both changed jobs.  Phone numbers have been exchanged and we'll be meeting up in a couple of weeks.

On Saturday, I met with friends for a photo walk at the Caen Hill Locks in Devizes and we finished the walk with a coffee in the Caen Hill cafe - a pleasant way to end the afternoon and the first time I've been in the cafe.  

Another new is that I've tried some new-to-me flavours of hummus - hot and spicy, and caramelised onion, both of which I liked.  These were bought in Sainsburys but I plan to have a go at making my own.

Finally, I've been exploring the village on my morning walks, discovering new-to-me routes to try to keep the walking interesting.  It's going well so far, although there are a surprising number of cul-de-sacs in the newer part of the village, so a lot of doubling back taking place.  

Thanks to Sian for organising this and wishing you all a happy and healthy week ahead.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Saturday Check-In

I've lost a pound this week so that makes a grand total of 10 pounds in 25 days. I'm hoping to lose a pound a week from now on - that's what my daily calorie intake is calculated to achieve, according to My Fitness Pal.

I did go over the set amount of calories on two days, those being the days I still teach.  The problem was the packed lunches, so I need to put a bit more thought into that aspect of my diet and do a bit of forward planning ... it should be easy enough.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I'm still reading The Lie by C L Taylor.  It should actually be a pleasant, easy read but for some unknown reason I'm making hard work of it.  

Watched | We went to the Odeon Screen Unseen on Monday where we saw 'Demolition'.  I probably wouldn't have gone to see it from watching the trailer but it was a pleasant enough way of passing a couple of hours.  And, of course, I went to see Mamma Mia which was absolutely brilliant!

Heard | I've been hooked on all the Abba songs since seeing Mamma Mia.  I've also been listening to Frances, especially her new single - 'Don't Worry About Me

Made | Band practice starts again tomorrow morning so I've been getting the new music sorted for the children to add to their folders tomorrow - it takes ages, not my favourite job. I've also been indulging in my new hobby - making Zentangles (see here).

Worn | Clothes that are starting to feel loose - nearly time to go shopping again!

And Lastly ... It's time to change my car.  I think I'd like a Volkswagen Polo but I'll make my final decision after I've trotted around the garages and sat in all the various cars on my list.  This is the first time I've had to choose a car on my own so once I've decided on the model I want, my friendly mechanic is going to help me find the actual car ... which is a relief!

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

A Change of Plan

Things never go according to plan, do they?

When the person came to measure up for the kitchen, she also measured for a replacement sink and cupboards in the cloakroom. I'd chosen a compact range designed especially for small cloakrooms and was assured it would fit, so she went ahead and placed the order for me.  It was delivered last Friday but she'd ordered the wrong stuff and, instead of the compact range, the full size bathroom range was delivered - way too big for the space.

I phoned the company and, although they agreed it was their mistake, it couldn't be replaced in time for the installation date and they were being difficult about a refund.  There was absolutely no way any of it could be made to fit so, after our trip to the theatre on Saturday, we went along to Ikea where I chose and collected the items I needed, saving myself £250 and also having the peace of mind to know that everything was ready and waiting for the installation.

I'd decided that if I couldn't get a refund from the original company, I'd just take a loss and sell the stuff on Gumtree.  However, today I went to plan B and loaded all the stuff into the car and took it back to the store, demanded to see the manager and got my refund.  He said that there was no question that I was entitled to a refund and he'll investigate why I'd been told otherwise, but I'm not holding my breath to hear back about it.

The new range from Ikea is similar to the one I'd originally chosen, so I'm happy with 'the look' I'll (eventually) have. Now, please will everyone keep their fingers crossed that the installation starts on the agreed date!