Thursday, 30 April 2015

120/365: Z is for ... the Zebra Cushion


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 
 
This was a Christmas present from Julie's daughters way back in 2003 or 2004, I can't remember the exact year, but it was for the conservatory at my then home.  I know the girls chose it because we'd recently been to London to see the Lion King and they thought it would remind us of that show.  This zebra cushion was for Ced and the girls named it Zeb.  I was given a giraffe cushion which they named Gerry.   The girls were right ... the cushions are a nice reminder of seeing the show and also of a lovely weekend together in London.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Photo Pairs

Today I'm showing two photographs of the euonymus - my favourite plant in the garden. One  was taken at the start of April and the other was taken a couple of days ago ..

THEN and NOW 

 
 

The Alphabet Project | P is for Palindromes

The Alphabet Project has reached the letter P and I decided on ...

... P is for Palindromes
 

119/365: Y is for ... the Yellow Crockery


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 

These bowls and mugs were in all the shops at the time, probably about 15 or 16 years ago. Julie's girls gave these to Ced for his birthday that year and they organised a special birthday tea for him with sandwiches and cakes and party games!

The bowl and mug have been well used over the years and I still use them regularly now, even though they don't exactly match my white dinner service! The best memory is of coming home from clay pigeon shooting on a freezing cold winter day to a pot of slow cooked stew served up in these ... I'd have the mug and Ced would have the bowl ... as we thawed out in front of the woodburner.   

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

118/365: X is for ... the eXpertise



So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 

X is always difficult to do isn't it!  So, opting for the sound instead of the initial letter ... X is for eXpertise.

As with all couples we had certain jobs around the house that were ours; I took care of the shopping, ironing, sewing etc, and Ced was responsible for mowing the lawn, cleaning out the grate in the winter, putting out the bins etc. We both shared kitchen duties but one of the jobs that was exclusively his was to sharpen the knives, which he did regularly and usually when I was at work so I didn't ever see it being done.

Fast forward a few years to the diagnosis of his illness and the inevitable outcome, and from various conversations it was becoming clear that one of his biggest worries was how I'd manage when he was no longer with me ... particularly, how would I cope with doing all the little things that he'd always done such as bleeding the radiators, checking the pressure on the heating system, checking tyres and oil on the car, and ... sharpening the knives.  It's not that he thought I wasn't capable but that he knew I didn't know how to do most of these things so the way forward, and to take away that anxiety, was for him to teach me. Some things were easy and I understood and took over responsibility for them straight away but I just couldn't get the hang of sharpening knives.  It took me ages to grasp how to do it properly and it's the final practical thing he ever taught me.

I'm eternally grateful that, at such a difficult time for him as he tried to come to terms with a terminal illness, he found it possible to consider me and help me prepare for my future without him.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Me on Monday

It's been a music making, then relaxing and making time for myself sort of weekend, followed by a lovely easy-going teaching day today.
 
Saturday morning was spent at band practice as usual where we handed out new music, had a laugh with the children and I generally enjoyed myself.  The rest of Saturday was spent at home just relaxing and not really doing anything at all, just a bit of reading, lots of daydreaming and a bit of mindless TV watching. 
 
Sunday was another relaxing day.  I slept in until 10:00am (which is unusual for me as I usually wake about 6:00am) and had a long soak in the bath followed by a late breakfast/brunch sort of meal. Then an afternoon curled up on the sofa watching Code of a Killer on ITV player, followed by an evening watching Vera whilst enjoying an Indian takeaway and finally, an early night.
 
I've been teaching today but had an early finish at 2:00pm and am now at home reading blogs, drinking coffee and sort of thinking about plans for the rest of the week.  One of my schools has their big music concert on Wednesday evening so I'll be making the final adjustments to the running order as soon as I've finished this post. If there's any time left it'll be another evening spent relaxing and an early night.
 
Linking with Sian @ From High in the Sky.

117/365: W is for ... the Winnie the Pooh Biscuit Barrel


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 
 
I fell in love with this when I saw it on a stall at a Toy, Train & Collectors Fair we went to about 2000.  I can't remember the exact price but do remember that we both thought it was overpriced as lots of things are at these places, and much as I wanted it, I couldn't afford it.  I love Winnie the Pooh; I was brought up on the stories and at that time had quite of lot of Winnie the Pooh collectibles and this would have had pride of place in my collection.
 
I half heartedly tried to persuade Ced to buy it for me but wasn't having much luck.  As we went to move on, the stall holder called out to Ced and said "If you love her, you'd buy it for her", to which we both laughed and carried on.  At the end of the afternoon I needed to find the Ladies, so we agreed to meet back at the car.  I got there ages before Ced and was beginning to think he'd got lost, but he eventually turned up.  I was sat in the passenger seat reading a book when he got in the drivers side and placed a parcel in my lap ...  looked at me ... and said "what the man said".  I looked at him and must have looked a bit puzzled because he said "well, open it then", so I did.  And there it was ... and I cried. Happy tears of course!

Sunday, 26 April 2015

116/365: the Lindisfarne Sketch


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.


I've already written about our last minute holiday to Lindisfarne.  When we were there I'd wanted to buy a painting of the castle but really didn't like any of the ones in my price range so came home slightly disappointed that I hadn't managed to buy one.  We had photos of the castle but, as it was the tourist season, there were too many people about to get the shot I wanted.
 
Some weeks after we got back, Ced toddled off to a car boot sale on his own and came back with the framed sketch you can see in the photo.  He said that as soon as he saw it he knew it was exactly what I wanted so he was prepared to get it for me, no matter what the price. I was over the moon and secretly chuffed that he was prepared to spend all this money on me; it turns out that he paid the astronomical price of ... 50 pence (approx. $0.74).  The last of the big spenders!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

115/365: V is for ... the Videos


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 

These are just a few of the videos which Ced made over the years.  I'm eternally grateful that he recorded all of these, capturing family and friends since about 1990.  Best of all is the Clever Sods video, a film he made of all his friends working at their chosen skilled trades, but most importantly he recorded himself working at the lathe - there's very few photos or recordings of him as he was always the one behind the camera so this is a priceless piece of film and I'm unbelievably lucky to have it.  

I'll probably have the videos converted to DVD and will photograph the box labels to use for the DVD covers so that I can keep his handwriting.  Treasured memories! 

Friday, 24 April 2015

114/365: U is for ... the Underground Mug


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.


Ced loved the London Underground map and had lots of things with it on, this mug being one of them.  It's the mug he always used.  Mostly it lives in a kitchen cupboard and knowing it's there is enough.  I catch a glimpse of it when I open that door and it feels right - there's always been an underground mug in the house since I met him back in 1977.  But sometimes, not often, just when missing him gets too much, I take it out, make some coffee and use it myself.  And then I put it back again.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

113/365: T is for ... the TARDIS Biscuit Barrel



So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.

Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.

 
I really do need to learn how to photograph shiny objects properly. It is clean, honestly!
 
I've seen every episode of Doctor Who since the very first one and so had Ced. When it was relaunched in 2005 it was an unmissable part of our Saturday night TV, especially when David Tennant played the title role (that was me, I don't think he felt the same way about the 10th Doctor!). 
 
I arrived home one day to find Ced grinning all over his face and this TARDIS biscuit barrel sitting on the coffee table.  He'd always wanted one but had never had the spare cash before, but his circumstances had changed and he could afford it so he'd treated himself.  As a biscuit barrel it's useless (it isn't airtight, so I store clarinet reeds in it!) but as a memory of that grin ... it's priceless.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Photo Pairs

I didn't think about my photos for Helena's Photo Pairs until I was driving to work this morning.  I arrived early and had about twenty minutes to potter about and look for something interesting to photograph ... and I was really relieved pleased to see that the sheep have been moved back into the field next to my parking space! 

So here, taken on my little snappy camera, is ...

ZOOM IN & ZOOM OUT

 

112/365: S is for ... the Sunflower Vase


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 
 
Back in 2002 I was moving house and we were busy clearing out and packing to get ready for moving day.  The garage had become a dumping ground for Ced's stuff and also some of Julie and Trev's stuff so we set aside a weekend to get it cleared.  We loaded the cars and Trev and Ced set off to the recycling centre to get rid of it.  That was the mistake, letting them go to the recycling centre unsupervised!
 
When they got back they came bearing gifts - a set of vinyl LPs to teach yourself German, one of the ugliest paintings I ever seen and this sunflower vase.  Apparently a lady was getting rid of them but Ced thought they were too good to throw away so he brought them home for me.  Why? The painting never made it out of the car boot, and once I pointed out that, a) I didn't have a record player so couldn't play the LPs and, b) I had no real desire to learn German anyway, the language course quickly founds its way back into the car boot as well.  I did like the sunflower vase and agreed to keep it, not very graciously I admit because we were supposed to be getting rid of stuff, but he did look a bit hurt that I didn't appreciate his gifts!  When I told my sister about it she thought it was very funny, and typical of Ced.
 
A few weeks later I was the proud owner of my new home and my sister brought my Mum around to see the new place.  The doorbell rang and I opened the door to be greeted by my sister holding a massive bunch of sunflowers ... she thought they'd look good in my new sunflower vase!  I have to agree that they did! I think the thing I remember most about that afternoon is Mum and my sister sniggering every time they looked at the sunflowers so beautifully displayed in the sunflower vase. 

That's also how sunflowers became our flower!

The Alphabet Project | O is for Olives

PODcast's Alphabet Project has reached the letter O ...

O is for OLIVES
 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Street Plants

Lucy over at Loose and Leafy challenges us to look out for street plants, that is the ones that have seeded themselves and are growing where they really shouldn't be.
 
Earlier this month I went on a mystery coach tour and ended up in the city of Gloucester where I spent my time taking photographs, including quite a few of street plants.  The following photos were taken in a couple of roads just off the main shopping centre.


Later the day, we moved on to Chepstow Castle where I took these photos.

111/365: R is for ... the Robin Mug


So far this year my decluttering efforts have been focused on the things I want to get rid of.  All very necessary as there is so much that needs to go, but this month I'm having a bit of a change and will be looking at the special items I want to keep.
 
Click here to see the list of blogs participating in the 2015 A to Z Challenge.
 

Mum loved robins, so there have always been robins as part of our Christmas celebrations. This mug was part of the last Christmas present I gave her the year before she passed away and now I've kept it to be my Christmas mug.  It can only to be used between Christmas Eve and Twelfth Night - that's the family rule for Christmas things.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Me on Monday | My Day in Photos

The weekend was a bit of a washout.  It was band practice on Saturday morning which was okay to start with and then I started to feel ill.  I made it through until the end but went to bed as soon as I got home and slept for a while. I spent the rest of the day either sleeping or checking blogs on my iPad.  Sunday was also spent in bed either sleeping, reading or checking blogs!

It was supposed to be the photo an hour for April on Sunday, organised by Jane and Louise, but I obviously wasn't in a fit state to take any photos so I've done it for today instead.  I'm also linking with Sian's Me on Monday.

You'll have to use your imagination for the start of the day as I forgot that I needed to take the photos and only remembered after I'd been up for a couple of hours.  

7:30am | leaving home.  Today is a teaching day and I've opted to take my flute as it's the lightest instrument to carry.  I'm still feeling fairly fragile.

8:30am | I've arrived at my first school and am getting ready to teach.  Some of the children have already arrived at school at left their instruments in the library, ready for their music lesson.

9:30am | I have an hours break because of the new whole-school spelling initiative so have relocated to the staff room for a hot drink and to read my book.  I'm glad of the break today.

10:30am | Time to start working again.  I'm just about to go into this classroom to teach a recorder lesson.

11:30am | Continuing with the music lessons.  It's difficult to do a photo an hour on a teaching day as I'm not allowed to photograph any of the children.

12:30pm | Walking back to my car.  I never park in the school car park at this school as I have to leave early so don't want my car to be blocked in.  It's just a five minute walk to the village club where I park.  There are horses in the field on the left and usually they come over to the fence but they were over the other side of the field today.

1:30pm | I'm in my afternoon school, baking hot in a room/cupboard with no window; it's attached to the kitchen and it's where they store the dinner tables and chairs. Lack of space is always a problem in the older village schools.  The children are fun to teach though so that makes up for it.

2:30pm | I've finished teaching for the day and decided to call in and visit a friend on my way home.  I only stayed for a coffee and a quick chat.

3:30pm | At home and updating my registers and invoice, sorting out my diary and trying to book a hospital appointment. 

4:30pm | Just relaxing.  I'm curled up on the sofa in the living room doing nothing at all. These flowers were a gift from a friend.

5:30pm | A little bit of piano practice, soon abandoned for today because I was too tired to concentrate and was making too many mistakes!

6:30pm | Sitting at the table after my evening meal, just enjoying the light.

7:30pm | Watering the plants.

8:30pm | I've settled down for an evening of reading ... this book and also catching up with various blogs.  

That's the final photo of the day.  The rest of the evening will be spent reading but I won't bother to take any more photographs as they'd all be the same!