Wednesday, 30 March 2016

SNAP!

I have that sort of bouncy, 'it's spring' feeling today.  You could almost say that I'm feeling tiggerish, so obviously I need to share (part of) my Tigger collection with you.  Luckily it's Helena's SNAP link up, so here are three of them ...

The first one actually belonged to Ced and I just can't bring myself to throw it away yet.  I've no idea where he got it from but it lived in his van and bounced about as he drove along.  It sort of suited his personality! 



The second one was given to me by my friend's daughters years ago when they were very young.  It was the lid of a huge bottle of bubble bath and arrived on Christmas Day after lots of not so subtle conversations about who was my favourite Winnie the Pooh character.  Every time they visited, the girls checked whether I still had it. 



My final snap is the Tigger and Pooh biscuit barrel which I've written about before, and which I still treasure.


Thank you to Helena for organising this weekly link up.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Tuesday Afternoon


I'm joining in for the first time with Kara's Tuesday Afternoon link up, where she extends this invitation ..........

won’t you come with me and see the beauty of
Tuesday Afternoon
Your post can be about anything
that feeds your spirit
and the family friendly nature of
a spirit of simplicity

I've chosen images of the flowers currently on display in my kitchen, a surprise gift from a friend, and which cheer me up every time I see them.  



Thank you to Kara for organising this.

All about ... this Spring

I have quite a few trips and things planned for the next three months, taking me up to the end of June.

  • the Bath Abbey Tower Tour
  • a watercolour and zentangle one day course
  • Simon King photo exhibition at Longleat
  • see Sean Lock 
  • see Mamma Mia at the Hippodrome in Bristol
  • a singing workshop in Radstock
  • live music event - Altan
  • visit Biddestone Manor Gardens (as part of NGS)
  • visit Hazelbury Manor Gardens (as part of NGS)
  • see Gary Delaney 
  • visit Job Mills Garden (as part of NGS)
  • Bedlam Fair in Bath
  • see Elton John (at Longleat)

On top of that list there's also the usual book groups, lunch dates, photo walks and cinema trips, so a busy few months ahead of me ... at least I won't be bored!

********************

I'll finish this post on a happy note .....

My luck is definitely changing.  My car was delivered to my home yesterday, all fixed ......  



....... the cost? .......



...... no charge!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt | Final Selection

Here's my final selection of photos for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt.  Sorry I'm so late in doing this post, but better late than never!

No 1 | a robin redbreast



No 2 | tinsel




No 3 | outside lighting




No 4 | a star




No 5 | a snowman




No 6 | a puddle




No 7 | berries




No 8 | a wreath



No 9 | a tree that has lost all its leaves




No 10 | a windy day (this may take a bit of thinking!)




No 11 | my favourite pudding (ice cream ... the toffee and pecan roulade and strawberry was a bonus!)



No 12 | a fancy button




 No 13 | street art



No 14 | afternoon tea



No 15 | candlelight



No 16 | a chimney



No 17 | a ladder



No 18 | an arrow




No 19 | a fountain




No 20 | cutlery



No 21 | my own handwriting


Many thanks to everyone who took part.  It'll be back again in December, but before that we have Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt to look forward to.  Can't wait! 

Memorandum Monday

It hasn't been a good week! I have some 'first times' to tell you about, but mostly it's bad news first times, rather than reasons to celebrate.  Sorry!

It started with a visit to my doctor on Tuesday and the devastating news that, for the first time ever, my cholesterol reading is dangerously high.  It's the one thing about me that has never been a problem but this new reading, combined with other long term health problems, means that I am now in the category with a significant chance of a heart attack/heart problems. My doctor was insistent that it had to be treated, but instead of taking yet more tablets every day, it's going to be the lose weight, eat the correct foods to reduce cholesterol, and exercise route to start with.  In theory this should resolve the high cholesterol reading and I have to go back in three months for a review.  If there is no improvement then I'll have to go down the medication route. 

I managed to lose over three stone about 2 or 3 years ago but lost focus and the weight has gradually crept back on.  I did it by calorie counting so that's what I plan to do this time, using the 'My Fitness Pal' app to record my progress.  For the 'first time' ever I've been looking online to see exactly what foods I need to avoid to reduce the cholesterol reading.  I've found lots of help and plenty of low calorie recipes so am looking at tweaking some of the recipes I fancy trying.  As for daily exercise, I've been alternating between a 30 minute walk (but I really need to get some comfortable walking shoes!), and a combination of step routines using the Wii. 

That was the bad start to the week and from there it went downhill.  I set off to see friends, realised that I'd left my mobile at home but decided not to go back for it.  This proved to be a mistake!  As soon as I was miles from anywhere, the engine warning light came on.  I didn't know whether it was still safe to drive, but I couldn't phone for help, so after an initial panic I was debating on trying to find some help when the cavalry arrived in the form of a farmer driving a massive tractor.  He phoned his son to bring the land rover to tow me back to their yard and that's my next 'first' - I've never been behind the steering wheel when being towed by another vehicle.  They let me phone my friends to cancel my visit and phone my usual mechanic to collect me with the recovery trailer to start the repair.  It's also the 'first time' I've travelled in a recovery vehicle.  

Anyway, I'm back home and the car is still in the garage.  I'm hoping this is because of the Easter break rather than the complexity of the repair.  It does have an expensive feel about it though.  

I'm desperately hoping that this next week is better!  I hope you've all had a lovely Easter break and are looking forward to lots of fun things this week.  

Waving to you all, and linking with Sian @ From High in the Sky.


Monday, 21 March 2016

Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt | Final Link Up

It's the end of the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt for another year and we now need to wait patiently for the start of Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.

I've added a linky below so you can link to a post showing your final photos.  I'll add my post later today or tomorrow - the most difficult one for me this time was 'a windy day' and I also failed to see a robin redbreast (had to resort to a photo of a greetings card).  Which one did you struggle with?

Thanks to everyone who's taken part and I'll be round to see your photos later in the week. 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

SNAP!

Not only am I a day late with my photo's for Helena's SNAP! link up but I'm not sure that I've stuck to the rules this time.  They are not really a visual set, more of a sequence.

Anyway, I was loaned a Wentworth jigsaw puzzle - one of the ones with the 'whimsey' shapes.  I haven't done one of these before so it was interesting to see how well it was packed with all the puzzle pieces secured in a drawstring bag.




And no need to sort out all the straight edges because, in this type of puzzle, a straight edge doesn't mean it is one of the actual edge pieces.  I did sort out some of the 'whimsey' pieces though.



Then, completely against the rules (the family rules that is!), I started in the middle of the picture.  We were brought up to finish the sky first, which I now realise was to make us do the boring part of the puzzle first so that we didn't lose interest and Mum didn't end up having to finish the puzzle on her own.  



Here's the finished puzzle. 


A very different puzzling experience as all the pieces are different shapes and it made a pleasant change. As it was only 250 pieces it didn't take long to do so I'm off to search for more examples and see if they hopefully make much bigger ones.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Memorandum Monday


Waving to you all on this sunny Monday morning and hoping you're all well. 
 
My 'something new' for this week thankfully arrived in my inbox this morning.  Thankfully, because without this, I wouldn't have had anything to write about!  I signed up for a course with FutureLearn a few week ago, and today is day one of my chosen course - 'Genealogy: Researching Your Family Tree'.  It's a 6 week free online course run by the Centre for Lifelong Learning's Postgraduate Programme in Genealogical, Palaeographic and Heraldic Studies at the University of Strathclyde.
 
I've already done a lot of research on my family tree but I'm stuck with two particular lines and don't seem to be able to make any progress with them so, apart from having a genuine interest in the subject matter, I'm hoping that this course will help me discover new ways of researching and also to give me a better understanding of the types of documents I am already familiar with.
 
I've done one of the FutureLearn courses before and was comfortable with the pace of learning - there's no pressure to meet deadlines, although you do miss out on joining in with the online discussions if you fall behind.  I've also signed up for two more courses, starting in May (I think); both shorter 3 week courses - one on nutrition and one on solving number problems. 
 
I hope you all have a lovely week with lots of interesting things planned.  Thanks to Sian for organising this weekly link up.

Friday, 11 March 2016

The Little Things

Read | I've just finished 'The Versions of Us' by Laura Barnett, a book I'd recommend to everyone, and I've started on 'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen.  It's been on my to-read pile for ages so I was pleased when it was chosen by the book group for this month.  I haven't read much of it yet, but am enjoying it so far.
 
Watched | I went to see Sleeping Beauty on Saturday (which I wrote about in this post).  I also started watching 'Thirteen' on iPlayer and which I'm enjoying so far.
 
Heard | I can't think of anything that's really stuck out for me this week.  I've heard lots of recorder playing, which I wouldn't inflict on anyone, but apart from that I've opted for a quiet week and haven't been listening to the radio or iPod.
 
Made | I've made some progress with the family tree.  Not much, but I've been stuck for ages and mostly occupied with eliminating names, and now I've managed to find the correct line again so am slowly adding new names and dates.
 
Worn | Just the usual stuff, nothing special.  I'm still sorting out clothes to send to charity as part of a donation for Lent, but the exercise has made me realise that I seriously need to update my wardrobe and that, really, it is time to send most of it to the charity shop.  A shopping trip is being planned!
 
And Lastly ... I have the urge to continue with the next stage of the decluttering.  I was doing really well last year but lost the momentum and it all ground to a halt, but now the home improvements have started I'm keen to get on with the sorting and disposal of things, to make space for actually living and doing.  I'll keep you updated with my progress.

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

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Home Improvements 1

 
Yesterday, after months of planning, the home improvements started.  The electrician was first, fitting extra sockets, sorting out the switches for the lighting in the hallway and landing, and changing the wall lights in the living room. He also changed the external light on the back of the house for a sensor operated light; previously this could only be switched on from the living room but now I'll be able to take the rubbish out to the bins from the kitchen without needing to walk through the house to switch the external light on first.
 
 
I'm really pleased with the standard of his work.  He also had his own Henry hoover and cleaned up after himself as he went along so that alone earned him brownie points! I discovered one potential problem after he left, which was that the cloakroom light wouldn't work. I'm going to try a new bulb today (once I've bought one, as typically it needs a completely different bulb from any of the others in the house) to see if it is a simple coincidence that the bulb has gone as he wasn't doing anything that should have affected it, but it that doesn't resolve the problem he said he'll come straight back to sort it out.
 
Next to be done is the kitchen, but that's not quite going to plan.  Despite their initial promise to do this work, possibly in a couple of weeks, they are now saying that it'll be May at the earliest and most likely later that that.  So I'm in the process of changing my order with them, still buying the cabinets but cancelling the installation.  The electrician has recommended one of his friends who will be able to do the work next month, so he came to quote yesterday and I'm just waiting on his price but am assured that it will be much cheaper than I was going to pay ...  fingers crossed.


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

SNAP!

Helena'sCreativeMaven
 
Here's a set of four photos for Helena's SNAP! meme, showing a clever mallard who very kindly demonstrated the four points of the compass by facing north, south, east and west!



Tuesday, 8 March 2016

I'm Following a Tree | March

I've finally chosen the tree I'm going to follow this year. It's taken me a while to settle on my choice because I know that I won't be able to photograph this particular tree throughout an entire year - it's growing in The Courts Garden, which is a National Trust property in Holt, and which isn't open to the public during the winter months so my last photos of it will be in October.
 
I fell in love with this tree when I saw it on a visit to the gardens last year. It doesn't look that spectacular yet, but just you wait!
  

 
I don't even need to type the name of the tree thanks to the National Trust's efficiency ...
 
 
 
Lots of the branches are covered in lichen ...
 

 
... but there are plenty of red buds offering the promise of the colour to come.
 
 
 
The seed pods usually fall in the autumn but there are still lots of them hanging on the tree.  The Judas Tree is related to peas and legumes so the pods are similar to beans, except they are flattened rather than plump. 
 


Each pod holds between four and ten seeds - this one looks like it contains five.


I thinks this may be quite a young tree as it hasn't develop the purple hue on the trunk which is usually seen in an older tree.  It's about nine feet tall, so it still has a lot of growing to do.  I'll speak to one of the gardeners next time I'm there to try to find out when it was planted.
 
Linking with The Squirrelbasket.