Friday, 20 April 2018

Goodbyes, Crafting and Friends

It's done! Yesterday I informed the final school and then said goodbye to the private pupils and their parents. I'll continue in the school until July but have stopped the private lessons immediately. The good news is that four of the children have found new teachers - it's a good time in the school year as this is the time that teenagers stop lessons in preparation for final exams and leaving senior school so the instrumental teachers are looking to fill the gaps in their timetables. The sad news is that fifth child is giving up music lessons and joining a football club instead, but it's something that probably would have happened anyway! I'll still meet the parents occasionally for coffee and a catch up, and will get invites to the children's performances so I'll still keep in touch - one of the mums texted me to say that her daughters asked her if they could call me Auntie Eileen now! I arrived home with flowers and presents, and admit to spending a rather weepy evening at home. 

This afternoon I'm going to suss out a craft afternoon which is held three times a week in a pub in a nearby village. L is going with me and, although I wouldn't want to go three times a week, it could be a nice Friday afternoon activity. The leaflet says that 'if your craft is too big or too messy, just turn up for coffee, cake and a chat', so that's what we're going to do. I don't know what I'd actually take as a craft so will have to give it some thought if I decide that it's something I'd like to do regularly.

Tonight I have invited friends round for a meal and to watch a DVD. It's not the best planned evening as I'm not sure what to cook yet and don't know what we're watching so I need to fit in a bit of shopping time and also phone A to ask him to bring a selection of DVDs - I'm sure we'll all have a good time!

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Almost There!

  • Two car loads to the auction ✓
  • One car load to the charity shop ✓
  • Cleared out lots of odds and ends (one huge box of rubbish waiting for the next skip run) ✓
  • Stuff to be sold on Gumtree/eBay identified and photographed ✓

I'm counting yesterday as a successful day. I could have done without the heat but despite that, I completed everything I'd planned to do and more. I'll leave it till the weekend to finish off the adverts for the things I still have to sell and then I'll just have to sit back and wait for the phone calls/bids. I'm so close to completing the decluttering in the house I almost can't believe it - after such a long time it seems unreal. 

I have a few errands to run later this morning and then it's in to school early so that I have time to talk to the head teacher about my decision to retire in July. Then after school I'll see the private pupils to say goodbye to them - it's going to be an emotional end to the day! There's only one child left to sort out now - the parents have been brilliant about it, which makes it easier all round.

The plans are coming together for my mini break in May but more about that another time. Hope you all have a good day.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Decision Time!

In the end I enjoyed the teaching yesterday afternoon. It was great fun and, as ever when completely focused on a task, the time just flew by. However, I have decided that I will stop teaching in the schools at the end of this academic year. I told the school yesterday and will speak to my Thursday school when I'm there tomorrow. I have already stopped the Friday school. That just leaves the two private pupils to sort out but I've decided that I'll stop teaching them in July as well. It's been a difficult decision but I feel it's the correct one for me. It's time!

I was up early this morning as I'm taking the remaining loads to the auction house. All of the stuff going this time is heavy (Meccano) which is why it'll need more than one journey. I started loading the car and then took a break for breakfast so I just have to pack a bit more in and then I'm off. It's about a 50 minute drive away but at least they will unload it all when I get there.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Back To School

It's the first teaching session after the holiday and, for the first time ever, I am not looking forward to it. Dreading the thought of it, to be honest and I'm hoping I'll be able to snap out of this feeling once I see the children again. A big part of me thinks that with all my decluttering efforts during the holiday, letting things go and making long term plans for a future that doesn't involve teaching, I have already mentally moved on and put the teaching behind me without realising it. I'll have to see how this week goes and then take stock.

It's not such a nice day out there, very windy and a lot colder, so maybe that's affected my mood today. It's the book group meeting tonight, so I can take all of the books I'm donating to the charity shop and pass them on to A. I'll be glad to see the back of them - they've been stacked up in the dining room and every time I've walked past I've managed to knock a book from the pile! 

I'm checking out the possibility of a short break away in May. I don't teach during SATS week so, as in previous years, want to do something special to remember Ced (as it would have been his birthday). I'm still waiting to hear back from his brother and if he's around, then it'll be a few days in Watford. I may even fit in another trip to the Harry Potter Studios! 

Monday, 16 April 2018

Being Busy

I overslept this morning so have been trying to catch up with myself all day, hence this late post.

The chicken cooked in the slow cooker was a resounding success. It was falling apart so it was a doddle to separate all of the meat and divide it into individual portions. I've kept enough out for tomorrow and the rest of it is in the freezer. This was a really simple way of cooking a chicken and I'll do it again. It's my new favourite method after roasting!

Most of my day was taken up driving Lauren to Bristol Airport. We took the scenic route via Chew Magna and had a good natter on the way. I can't believe she is 21 next month. She's not even my child but I still can't help wondering where the time has gone and how she has grown up so quickly. I somehow got lost on the way home - I'm blaming the satnav - so was shattered by the time I got home. 

I opted to stay in tonight, watched a bit of TV, phoned Julie, and then read through my lesson plans for tomorrow to get them fresh in my mind. I meant to have an early night but made the mistake of checking my emails so ended up writing the responses to some that couldn't wait. Now I feel wide awake so I don't think sleep will come too easily. At least I can have a lie in tomorrow if needed!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

A Quiet Day

I'm having a jimjam day today. I'm still in my dressing gown and have no intentions of getting dressed ... so there! I didn't sleep well and am feeling tired anyway after all the sorting and organising I've done over the last week so I'm being sensible for once and listening to my body, which is screaming out for rest.

I won't take the rest of the stuff to the auction rooms until Wednesday now. Partly because it'd be too much of a rush to finish organising it - I need some smaller boxes to repack some of it to reduce the weight of each box - but also because I've agreed to drive Lauren to Bristol Airport tomorrow (after her arrangements fell through) so I won't have enough time to do that and the auction room run in the same day. She's off on a uni trip for her degree. 

Schools go back this week so I'll start teaching again on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. It seems that my 'problem' with the private pupils and whether to continue teaching them next year may have sorted itself. I currently have five children, but will stop teaching the two older ones in July anyway as they are moving to senior school in September. The mother of one of these two phoned me yesterday afternoon to say she'd managed to arrange for her older child to have lessons with the man she used to learn with when she was at school but that, for it to be viable for him, he needed to start teaching the younger child as well. It's the best outcome possible for the two children concerned so I'm over the moon for them ... and relieved for myself as the younger one is only eight so it'd be a few more years before she moved to senior school! That will leave two more children still to be sorted. In the worse case scenario I will continue with them for another year, when they too will move on to senior school, but I'm hoping their parents will be able to make other arrangements for them. 

I've taken the easy option for cooking today as well. I have a whole chicken in the slow cooker which will be ready in time for my evening meal. It's the first time I've tried cooking a chicken this way so I'm following the advice given in a Facebook group I've joined, and am keeping my fingers crossed that it'll taste wonderful! For lunch I will have some of the pea and ham soup I made yesterday. Actually I suppose it's more of a fridge surprise soup because, although I started with the ingredients for my usual recipe, I ended up adding all the tired looking veggie from the fridge as well. There's three portions in the freezer plus the one I'm eating today so I hope it is tasty.

Somehow, next week I have to find the time to sort out the problem of loading photos to blogger. I don't like my blog without the photos so this is a priority and if I can't resolve it I may have to change to Wordpress. Blogger have been no help at all so if anyone has had this problem and either sorted it or found a work around, please will you let me know?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

All Done!

One very happy little bunny here! The windows are finished and it all looks lovely and I'm happy with my choices. I can feel the benefits already as there are no drafts because the French doors fit and seal properly - hurrah! 

I wasn't such a happy bunny when I was trying to pay for them yesterday. My bank blocked the online transaction even though there was plenty of money in the account. I followed the instructions and phoned them to sort it out only to be told by some idiot in their fraud department that he 'wasn't going to authorise the payment' and asked me to explain what I was buying and to 'justify' why I wanted to buy it! I eventually got myself transferred to a manager who removed the block so that the payment could go through, but she wasn't too forthcoming about why it had happened in the first place. It's something to do with their latest procedures for identifying and preventing fraudulent payments to scammers but if that's the case I think they need a rethink, or the staff need some more training, because I don't agree that the bank can in anyway determine what an account holder chooses to spend their money on so I don't understand the questions I was expected to answer.

Still, enough moaning. It's all paid for now so the next stage is the bathroom and bedroom refurbishment. Before that happens I need to clear out the rest of the stuff for auction/charity shop/skip, so that's this weekend's job. There's not really that much left to go from the house (I'm choosing to forget about the garage for now) so it won't take that long to sort out, ready to load the car on Monday. I'll have plenty of time to relax and, if it brightens up and the mist clears, I hope to get out and take some photos. 

Hope you all enjoy your weekend, whatever your plans may be.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Organising Cupboards

The windows fitters are here again and are busy doing the downstairs windows and doors. I was amused to see that they have a pink Hetty Hoover - they are my sort of people!

I'm confined to upstairs so it's an ideal opportunity to sort out my playroom. There's lots of filing and shredding to do but for now I'm looking through each cupboard and deciding what I want to keep. When I originally filled the cupboards in this room I kept all the stuff relating to my 'current' hobbies but it's become clear, because I haven't used any of it in the five years I've been in this house, that they're not 'current' and it's time for a lot of that stuff to go.

I did a watercolour course which I thoroughly enjoyed and, although I still have the paints and brushes, it's become clear that I have no real enthusiasm for continuing to develop this skill. My friend, L, is a keen artist and has just joined an art group in Lacock so I'm passing all this stuff on to her.

I've sorted through the shelves of board games and puzzles and have reduced what I'm keeping from two shelves to one shelf. I'll take the rest to the charity shop. That's give me room for my new sewing machine (the old one had it's own case and was too big and heavy to go in the cupboard) so that frees up some floor space as well. I've kept some jigsaw puzzles for now but once I've done them there will be another empty shelf.

The stock of coloured pencils, colouring books and crafting paper has been condensed, and I will donate the excess stock to a local women's refuge. I kept all of this for the children of visitors to use but now they are all growing up they are more interested in playing on the iPad or their phones, so it's best the stuff goes where it is needed. I'll be selling all of the card making stamps, card and embellishments but for now it is staying where it is - at least it is out of the way until I can find the time to deal with it.

Half of one cupboard is filled with the reference books and workbooks required to complete the higher level music theory exams. I was doing well on this but eventually gave up as Ced's illness progressed and my carer's responsibilities had to take priority. Much as I enjoyed it, I no longer need to from a professional point of view - passing the exams would have increased my salary but as I'm virtually retired and am no longer working for that company, it doesn't seem worth the effort. That stuffs staying where it is for the time being but I will eventually sell it all. The rest of the cupboard holds boxes of photographs and all things photographic so, of course, that's all staying. 

The final cupboard is filled with the family tree research (keeping), and my filing system. I say 'system' but it's actually piles of paperwork that desperately needs to be sorted and filed/shredded as appropriate. I can't put it off any longer, so that's my next job.

Hope you all have a good day.  

Thursday, 12 April 2018

They're Here!

The fitters have turned up. I've passed their coffee making and biscuit test so they've decided to stay and the first window has been installed. The best news is that the company is sending extra fitters tomorrow so, if all goes well, the work should still be completed tomorrow as originally agreed but if not they will be here on Saturday to finish.

They are working upstairs today so I've settled in the living room sorting through the last lot of stuff to take to the auction house on Monday. They don't want access to the French doors today so I've moved some of the stuff I'd stacked up out of the way and am hoping to get most of it sorted today, rather than leave it till the weekend. It'll probably be another two car loads and will be the final loads to go. 

I managed to get out for a walk yesterday and am happy to report that my knee held up well. There was no pain at all when I was out and it was just a bit achy last night. It's fine today so it seems that short, easy walks will be the way to rebuild the strength in my leg and, if I'm sensible about it, I should be more mobile in time for my rescheduled holidays in August. 

I sorted through all the books last night. Regular readers will know that my sister passes all of her books on to me (50 or so every couple of months) and although we generally have the same tastes in books, sometimes she fancies a change and chooses ones I have no interest in reading. Added to that are the books I buy myself and the ones that friends pass on - the books were taking over the house so I've been ruthless about selecting the ones to read and the ones to go. I've kept about 50 to read, have about 100 to pass on to friends, and 117 (I've counted them!) to donate to the Red Cross charity shop in Chippenham - a friend works there and will collect them at next week's book group meeting. The ones I'm keeping will fit into one bookcase so it also leaves me with free space in other cupboards. I bet it doesn't stay empty for long!

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Best Laid Plans!

I woke up early this morning, excited that the fitters would arrive to start the replacement window installation. Silly me for getting so excited! An early morning phone call informed me that one of the fitters had phoned in sick so the work has been put back and they will now, hopefully, be starting tomorrow. Not too bad in the great scheme of things but I do hope it's not a sign of how all the rest of the home improvement work will progress. 

I'm just frustrated by the delay, short as it should be. I spent yesterday rearranging rooms to allow easy access to all of the windows so the entire house is in a mess, and things have been temporarily moved in such a way that I can't continue with the remainder of the decluttering until order is restored. 

I had an email message wondering why I hadn't mentioned my plans for the garden. It's because I don't have a plan, for this year anyway. This year is all about getting the house finished so I doubt that there will be much in the way of spare cash to spend on the garden. Last year I had the hard landscaping done and then planted a load of annuals either gifted (the cosmos) or bought in the 'let's get rid of these' May sale in one if the local stores, and the garden was really colourful. I'll probably do the same again this time, always assuming my eye problems don't get in the way of the planting - it's still painful to bend and/or look down. 

When the rain stops I'll go out for a (very) short walk this afternoon. I have a couple of letters to post so will venture at least as far as the postbox but may summon up the energy to walk around the marina. I'm feeling a bit stir crazy and could do with some fresh air. I'll just have to hope the knee holds up!