Monday, 20 February 2017

Memos, Mail, Me

A cheery Monday evening wave to Sian and all the other Mondayers. It was a rushed start to the day with the gas man turning up half an hour earlier than expected.  Luckily I was up and dressed, though I hadn't had my first mug of coffee or any breakfast, but for some reason his early arrival messed up my morning and I couldn't get my act together!

The gas pipe has now been removed and the resulting hole in the wall will be made good when I get round to the work on my bedroom and en-suite; that needs a plasterer and he will be able to make good the living room walls at the same time.  There will be another hole in the hall to sort as well because next month I'm having the control for the central heating updated to a WiFi controller (which will allow me to program different on/off times for each day of the week) and the existing wall mounted control in the hall will be removed.

So, on to the happy mail .... there's only one thing to tell you about this week.



I've decided to do the Ancestry DNA test to discover my ethnic origins. I've provided the saliva sample and sent it back but have to wait 6 - 8 weeks for the results. Has anyone else thought of doing this? I've dug out all the work on the family tree and plan to continue once I've had time to look through and decide what to do next. I let my Ancestry subscription expire but luckily they are currently offering 50% off the annual fee so that's reduced it to a much more reasonable price. I'm looking forward to delving into all the records again; it's surprising how much you can find out about previous generations.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Progress!

Today has been all about the front garden, visits to the garden centres, cold winds and steaming mugs of hot coffee! And supervising! 

B, my newly found gardener, has been absolutely brilliant. He's advised on suitable plants, chosen healthy specimens and has done the planting and relaying of gravel. I ordered one plant online which hasn't arrived yet and there's still a few more of the ones I bought today to be planted and the trellis to be fixed on the wall, so I won't do the before and after photos in this post ... you'll have to wait.

I'm indoors now, warming up and I've only been outside to see the results of his labours and to help with the clearing up ... he must be frozen! I still have to move some of the furniture in the living room to make space for the gas man to remove a gas pipe tomorrow morning but once I've done that I can settle down for the evening. I want to watch 'The Big Painting Challenge' on BBC1 and then finish reading my book ... see if my guess on 'who done it' is correct!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Getting Back To Normal ...

... whatever normal is! Today is the first day I've really felt like doing anything. I was half hoping to go for a walk and take some photos but it's been raining on and off all day so far, so I settled for a day at home catching up with things.

It's half term so no teaching commitments this week and I hadn't made any firm plans to meet with family or friends, so today has been all about catching up with things around the house. I've washed the floor in the kitchen/dining room and am finishing off the laundry; there's only one more load to do and there's not too much to iron this time, but the ironing can wait until tomorrow.

I've sorted out some more unwanted paperwork. I don't know where it's all coming from but hopefully I'm nearing the end! It does mean that there is some shredding to do though, a task I really dislike for some reason, but I'm going to be grown up about it and not put it off - I'm hoping to get that done some time tomorrow. Once it's done I'll organise a skip run; I have the old integrated fridge and some odds and sods to dispose of plus a few sacks of garden waste. L has offered to help me with that job.

I treated myself to a soup maker and have been busy trying out different recipes, all of which I've enjoyed.  It makes about four portions at a time so the freezer now has a health stock of assorted soups to keep me going. I have all the ingredients for bolognese sauce, chilli, and shepherd pies so I'll be cooking those up later today or tomorrow to add to my existing stock of freezer meals.  I start back teaching next week and am bound to be tired so I'm planning ahead to make sure I can eat quickly and healthily when I get home, rather than resorting to takeaways. 

The weather forecast looks more promising for tomorrow so I've arranged to go for a walk in the morning and then, hopefully, some photography in the afternoon. Then I need to clear a space in the living room before Monday, when an unwanted gas pipe is to be capped and removed. I've already moved some of the furniture but there are two really heavy pieces to move so I'll be asking my neighbour or one of my nephews for some help.

Apart from that, the only other thing happening is that work is starting on the tiny front garden on Sunday. I've ordered on plant online (because it was on special offer - £10 instead of the usual £30) but I'll tell you what it is when it arrives. It's the only delivery I'm expecting so I need to save the details for a Monday post! I'll be buying the rest of the plants on Sunday at the local garden centre; the gardener is coming with me to advise on suitability and select healthy specimens, etc. He is also carrying everything, although I'm not sure that he actually realises that! I don't know if it'll be finished on Sunday but I'll post photos once it is done.

I can't think of anything else to waffle on about so I'll finish for now ..... and maybe just snuggle up on the sofa with a coffee and finish reading my book.

Friday, 10 February 2017

I Have a Feeling ....

... that 2017 is going to be a tough year. I'm still struggling to get over the bug I had at Christmas and seem to have spent most of this year in bed, sleeping.

This week has seen a bit of an improvement so I'm hoping to catch up with the blog over the next week.

Back soon x

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Not Again!

I should have known better ... tempting fate by saying I was feeling better! I had to abandon the idea of working on Monday - the drive home was dreadful, I had to keep stopping - and it was straight to bed for me as soon as I got back. Tuesday and Wednesday plans had to be cancelled but I did manage to get up middayish on Tuesday and was up for most of Wednesday, although an indication of how I was feeling is that Wednesday passed in a blur of daytime TV and Facebook.

I feel tons better today but am still going to take it easy until I'm really sure I'm over it. So personal goals, plans and challenges are on the back-burner for a while and I'm going to focus on getting plenty of rest and taking better care of myself. The jobs I've scheduled that are to be carried out by tradesmen will still go ahead, but everything I was going to do myself will be left until next month at the earliest. Teaching, band practice and two theatre trips will hopefully still happen but the rest of my time in the foreseeable future will be spent doing as little as possible!

It's miserable being ill at the best of times but, living alone and being so ill has definitely been no fun at all!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Memorandum Monday

Monday morning greetings to Sian and the rest of the Mondayers. A new year and a new focus for this meme, with a post about any interesting mail received during the week. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be calling these posts now so have stuck to 'Memorandum Monday' until someone points me in the right direction.

I had lots of junk mail and a few renewal letters but I won't bore you with those. I'm going to share a photo of my only piece of interesting fun mail and let you know what I'm up to.


It's okay, you're not seeing things ...... it is a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone translated into Latin! I decided to brush up on my Latin translation skills which, considering I only know a few verbs and the odd word or so, is going to be more demanding than originally thought.  When I say 'originally thought' I'm being rather generous in describing the brain power employed when deciding that this was something I wanted to do, as it's quite clear that I didn't think it through at all! Still never say never, I will give it my best shot - Google is my friend in this endeavour, I feel. I'm not completely stupid though -  I have modified my ambition and will now aim to translate the first chapter!

To finish, I'll share some good news from my sister. The cancer hasn't spread, she doesn't need chemo but will have to take tablets for the next five years. Fantastic news!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

I Spoke Too Soon!

I spoke too soon when I said I was over the Christmas lurgy ... as soon as I was telling everyone I was fine and back to normal, it crept up on me again and the only option was bed rest. So (whispering) .... I seem to be okay again now.  I went to band on Saturday and will be back to work tomorrow. This has had an obvious knock-on effect on my January goals but there's still plenty of time so I'm feeling positive about completing two of them, and possibly all three, by the end of the month.

The replacement of the integrated fridge is behind schedule as the delivery was cancelled by the supplier due to lack of drivers! I cancelled the order and will be going to collect a fridge from a local store this week and then I have to rearrange the installation date, which may or may not be this month, depending on whether N's baby has been born. It's in hand anyway, so won't be delayed for too long.

Moving the boxes out of the smallest bedroom is way behind schedule but there are still enough days left in the month to get this done. I may have to ask friends to help now. 

The third goal for January was to get the decking removed and ....

.... trumpet fanfare ....

it's done:

It looks a bit of a mess doesn't it? My original idea was to live with it like this for a month or so to decide whether I wanted the new patio to be raised to the height of the decking (i.e. so that there isn't a step down from the french doors), or whether I preferred to go for a patio at the lower level (i.e. the height of the flagstones you can see in the photo, which will need a step down from the french doors). As soon as the decking was removed, the decision was a no-brainer - it'll be the lower level for the patio as this seem to open up the garden. So to move this project on the next step I need to arrange for a quote for laying the patio, which I hope to get around to sometime next week.

I'm already thinking about what I can choose for my February goals!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Back to Normal

It's surprising how quickly you get back into your normal routine, isn't it? A few minutes after arriving at the school yesterday, I'd forgotten all about the holiday and everything was back to normal. The children were excited to show me what they'd been practicing (although 'practicing' probably wasn't the correct description for most of them!) and I enjoyed a perfectly wonderful afternoon taking enjoyment from their pleasure in their achievements.

This morning it was more of the same as it was back to regular Saturday morning practices for the Youth Band, this time in our new home. It was lovely to see everyone and to catch up with all the news, and to spend an hour or so just focusing on playing. I followed up with a quiet afternoon at home, getting on with jigsaw puzzle (nearly finished), and tonight will either finish reading my latest book or will look for something to watch on TV.

Tomorrow is operation Small Bedroom!!


Yesterday:
0 mins = 2 days out of 4 achieved for my exercise target
5 portions = 2 day out of 7 achieved for my 5 portions of fruit and veg each day target

Friday, 6 January 2017

A Walk and a Trip to the Cinema

I know it's very early days but I think I'm getting the hang of this exercise lark. Yesterday I easily fitted in my daily exercise by the simple act of parking 15 minutes away from the cinema, so by the time I got back to the car I'd met my target of 30 minutes. Simples, with the added bonus of free parking! I hope this realisation is going to have a positive impact on my attitude to exercising - in the long term, I only need to double what I did today and I will easily manage the recommended 10,000 steps daily.

I was meeting friends to see 'A Monster Calls'.  We hadn't pre booked our seats but there really was no danger of not being able to sit together, as you can see from the photo!


From the trailer I wasn't expecting it to be a weepie and may not have gone to see it if I'd realised. The subject matter was a bit too close to home with things as they are with my sister. I definitely had a few tears in the cinema but thinking about it at home, after a mug of coffee and some shortbread, I'd still give the film a thumbs up.

This afternoon I'll be back in school running two recorder groups and some individual brass and woodwind lessons. I'm looking forward to seeing the children and getting back into a routine again - whether I'll feel the same by the time I get home remains to be seen!


Yesterday:
30 mins walking = 2 days out of 4 achieved for my exercise target
6 portions = 1 day out of 7 achieved for my 5 portions of fruit and veg each day target

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A New Approach

Yesterday was a bit of a drab day for photography but perfect for walking.


I met my friend L and we explored the riverside walks in Melksham, were out for about 45 minutes and managed just under 5000 steps in that time.  Both of us are completely unfit, overweight and unable to manage the speed the rest of our group of friends prefer to walk at, so we've decided to form our own little breakaway group and do a slow, short walk every Wednesday morning.

I felt tons better afterwards though and that one walk has kick-started my self-improvement gene, which disappeared into the background at the end of last year.  I keep on about need to lose weight and so far my efforts have been focused on that one aspect, i.e. dieting as the only way to lose weight. I'm pleased with how I've done so far, and will continue in the same manner, but I've decided to tweak my approach a little and this time concentrate on creating an all round healthier lifestyle.

There are lots of things I can do to improve my lifestyle but I'm taking a slow, sensible approach (yes, I can be sensible when I want to!) by not trying to change everything at once and swamping myself in the process. I'm going to focus on a couple of aspects of my life that I need, or want, to improve, and will set myself some smart target to monitor my progress. So to start, my first two targets are:
  • complete a minimum of 30 minutes exercise on 4 days each week during January 2017
  • eat at least 5 portions of fruit/vegetables every day during January 2017

To keep myself accountable I'll record the previous day's achievement at the bottom of each post. At the end of January I'll decide whether I need to continue with the same targets, whether they need to be tweaked, or whether I can set completely new targets.

Yesterday:
Exercise:  approx 45 mins walk in Melksham = 1 of 4
5 portions: 0 = 0 of 5 = 0 of 7