Friday, 30 November 2018

November Scavenger Hunt

I'm joining in with Kate's monthly scavenger hunt for the first time in ages. This is all part of my attempts to start taking more photographs again, although I admit to a bit of a last minute rush to find some of the photos I'm sharing today!

Post/Mailbox | This one is from my archives. It's one of the postboxes painted gold in commemoration of the achievements at the 2012 Olympics. This one is in Bradford on Avon, about three miles away, so I don't see it often now as I'm not driving through there regularly, but when I do drive past it still bring back memories of that amazing summer - the last summer I spent with my late partner when we watched the Olympics together. 



Decay | I was planning to take a series of photos of this rose but in the end only managed a few as it disappeared during a windy night!



Fold | trying to think outside of the box here ... sheep returning to the fold (flock). 



Secondhand | this was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this prompt. The top two shelves are packed with secondhand books, mostly passed on to me by my sister. I've just had a big clear out as I wasn't keeping up with her and have only kept the ones I'll definitely read, so these should all be finished with by the middle of next year. Some of the ones on the right hand side of the top shelf are future reading with my book group so have been separated out and will wait patiently until the correct month.




Strand | sorry about the dark shadow in this one! I've chosen a strand of cotton, partly because it represents ones of my plans for next year. As soon as the new carpets are laid, the decorating finished and I have the house to myself, I plan to start sewing again and making my own clothes.




Own choice | This is one of my favourite photos taken a couple of years ago in my back garden.


Many thanks to Kate for organising this. 

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt


It's nearly time for the Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt to start so I'm posting the list today to allow some thinking time. The hunt starts on December 1st 2018 and you have until March 31st 2019 to complete the list - the usual rules apply so all photos must be taken between these dates.

I'd love you to join in, the more the merrier - please add a comment to this post if you plan to join in. I will be hosting a link up at the end of each month so you can share your finds with everyone.

Here's the list 

1. At the end of the day
2. Pool of light
3. Fastener
4. Nail
5. A group activity
6. Water dispenser
7. Horse
8. Chocolate
9. Peel/peeling
10. Holly
11. Dressed for the season
12. Glitter
13. An instruction
14. A crossing place
15. Flight
16. A measurement

17. Orange
18. A natural feature
19. A carved object
20. A method of communication


If you find any of the above hard to get you may substitute one or both of the subjects below.

Alt A. A keyring  
Alt B. Show and tell - something you made 

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing all your photos.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

In My Defence ......

.... I was left unsupervised! I was in the house alone and managed to get myself trapped in the downstairs cloakroom. A rather large empty cardboard box (large as in the exact width of the hall) fell against the door and, as the door opens outwards, I couldn’t get out. I should have waited for D to come back from his lunch break but as he’d only just left I decided not to wait as in my mind (!) it was only cardboard and it should easily give way so I could squeeze out. Wrong! The cardboard was as solid as a rock and the door lost the argument! The bottom of the door near the hinge has splintered and now the door won’t close. When D got back he took the door off the hinges and it’s now propped against the wall until N can sort it out for me. Looking on the positive side, this is now the third thing to go wrong and as thing run in threes, it should be the last. Fingers crossed anyway.

Thank you all for the birthday wishes yesterday. I had a lovely day and feel really blessed. 

It’s pouring down now, so I’ve opted to stay at home this afternoon but will be going to the cinema with Lauren tonight. J, the electrician, has generously given me a Blu-ray player that he no longer wanted and left a dvd in there by mistake. It’s the film ‘Lucy’ which I haven’t seen yet so will watch it this afternoon before I return the dvd to its rightful owner.

Monday, 26 November 2018

A Special Week

I have lots planned for this week ... all to celebrate my birthday. It's officially today, but celebrations will continue for a while!

I'll catch up with my (twin) sister today and then am out with friends for a meal this evening. Tomorrow night I'm seeing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' again with Lauren (because she hasn't seen it yet) and on Wednesday will be meeting Joy for lunch, and then my book group friends for an evening meal. Thursday will be another two meals with other friends and on Friday a shopping trip followed by an evening meal. I am going to be huge by the end of the week ... huge, but happy!

I won the ongoing 'who gets to say Happy Birthday first' competition with sister, sending my text at 8 am, while she was still typing her message to me. We had to reset the rules a few years back after she sent a text at one minute past midnight, and now contact can only be made at a reasonable hour. We're both still very much in touch with our inner child!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Seasonal Music, Leaks and Family

It's started! It was the band's first Christmas commitment yesterday, playing in church for the annual Shopper's Carol Service. We played carols before the service, accompanied the singing of Silent Night during the service, and then played again after the service as people were leaving. It's always good fun and as usual, I enjoyed myself.

We now have two commitments every week until we break for Christmas. All of these are busking, either outside of supermarkets or in town centres, so we are hoping for dry weather. We can cope with the cold but if it rains we won't play, so finger crossed! This is our main fund raising for the year and the money raised will be used to purchase new instruments and/or new sheet music so it's an important time for the band.

I also have a couple of sessions with a local orchestra, playing the flute, but I don't have as many commitments as in previous years. It's the lack of all the school performances that has made it easier this year. The only one I'll be attending is the local school carol service, when I'll help escort some of the younger children on the walk through town to the church and then back to school after the service. I will be going to the Nine Lessons and Carols service in December - it's my favourite of all the Christmas services.

An update on the leak ... they eventually located the problem and have resolved it. I was debating whether to discuss asking for both ceilings to be repainted at their expense but they beat me to it and have offered to sort it all out for me which I've accepted. We've agreed that the seal will be applied straight away but  the painting will wait until the family bathroom is finished as the bathroom is the priority and I want the really messy work over and done with before Christmas. 

I had a flying visit from Little Misses C and H together with their parents to collect the recorder, case and music bag I'd ordered for Little Miss H. She has started learning at school so I've bought her the kit in her chosen colour - purple! -, something I did for her sister when she started (although her chosen colour was pink). Apparently it's important to have the correct colour recorder and I was reliably informed that 'purple' makes it sound better! I had to get all of my recorders out for them so they could show their dad all the different sizes (from garklein to bass) and also play them. I had to rush out to play at the carol service so sometime today I need to get them all out again and give them a good clean ... to remove all the kid's spit! 

And on that note, I'll finish! Hope you all have a lovely Sunday, whatever you are doing.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Tears Were Shed ...

... another leak!

They’d spent the best part of the day checking that everything was okay but after I used the shower last night there was a water stain on the living room ceiling and a puddle of water on the carpet below. Luckily it missed the new furniture! I texted them all to let them know what had happened and D came round straight away to check - this was about 9:30pm. He couldn’t find an obvious leak - there was no visible water dripping, no sound of a hidden leak but plenty of wet patches under the en-suite floor and on the living room ceiling and carpet to provide the evidence that something isn’t right. He stayed for ages but it got too late to drill so he called it a night and promised to come back first thing in the morning. Some of the tiles have had to be removed and I admit to a few tears. They are all here today trying to work out what is wrong.

Anyway, here's a photo of the fabric samples for my curtains ...



  • top left - dining room curtains and kitchen blind
  • bottom left - living room curtains
  • centre - music room curtains
  • top right - spare bedroom blind 
  • bottom right - my bedroom curtains

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Good News!

After a morning of medical appointments I have some good news. For the first time in about 20 years my blood pressure medication is being reduced from three different meds per day down to two. Today's reading was slightly higher than the last one (two weeks ago) but still showing as just below the lower level of the acceptable range for my age group. I have to go back in six months to be reassessed (or sooner if I have any concerns) so a significant improvement from the previous monthly/two monthly checks. Also, because of the medication that's been dropped, I no longer need regular blood tests.

J and D are here doing the first fix on the plumbing in the family bathroom. D has also changed the radiators in the living room for bigger double ones to try to improve the heating in that room. They're currently refilling the system so the house will soon be warm again, which means I can hide myself away in the living room and make lists, read, and (once they've gone home) do some music practice. 

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

It Was All Going So Well ...

... until the water leak that is!

Yesterday, J came to commission the shower. Everything was fine but about an hour after he left I could hear dripping water, which turned out to be water coming through from the attic and dripping down through the new cupboard. Cue buckets, cloths, and panicky phone calls and about 30 minutes later the cavalry arrived in the shape of D who sorted it all out. 

It seems that a small elbow joint had been damaged at some stage during the renovations and commissioning the shower resulted in this joint leaking. There was a huge pool of water in the attic (contained in the area above the shower and the corner of my bedroom) and this was leaking through the line of least resistance which was the new cupboard. He stopped the leak straight away, replaced the elbow joint and used his industrial vax type machine to remove all the excess water. When he left the ceilings upstairs looked fine but today there are water marks visible on the ceiling above the shower and one of the light units doesn't work. So far the bedroom ceiling and cupboard looks fine and the living room ceiling below doesn't seem to have been affected. 

Luckily it was fairly minimal damage. They will have to finance the replacement light but if the water damage to the ceiling can be covered with one coat of paint I'll stand that cost as the decorator will be here anyway. 

The sample of my curtain fabrics have arrived so I will try to post some photos tomorrow. I've been over to Corsham this morning to take yet more instruments for repair and for the rest of the day I'll be pottering about at home, catching up with a few chores. I have the house to myself today so I'm not getting in anyone's way!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Curtains, Carpets and Decorating

The appointment with the rep from the curtain company didn't start out as well as I'd hoped. I asked about using the reverse of my chosen fabric but it was a 'no'; apparently there are three or four fabrics where this is not possible and my choice was one of them. He pointed out that on the sample I'd received it looked feasible but when he showed me other samples in that range I could see the problem, where the embroidery doesn't always show as a regular pattern on the reverse, leaving largish areas of the silver showing at random.

This meant new choices had to be made which was fun. Once I'd finished looking through his sample books I had a pile of possibilities, none of which included any of the samples I'd send for. Anyway, in the end I made my choices and I'm totally happy with my decisions. He's ordered samples of my chosen fabrics so I'll post a photo when they arrive.

He measured up and quoted for the two rooms I definitely wanted done at this stage and as expected was expensive but not heart-stoppingly so. Their pricing system is such that the more you buy the cheaper each pair of curtains is, so I asked him the measure and quote for the other three rooms ... just to see. The end result is that with the pricing structure for the quantity ordered, the Black Friday sale price and the extra 10% off (not sure what that was for but I'm not complaining!), I've placed the order for the five pairs of curtains and two roman blinds which are needed to dress the windows in five of the rooms - living room (2 pairs of curtains), dining room (1 pair of curtains), kitchen (roman blind), music room (1 pair of curtains), my bedroom (1 pair of curtains) and spare bedroom (roman blind). Every window in the house already has either Venetian or vertical blinds, so it is unlikely that I'll ever get curtains for the remaining rooms (bathroom, en-suite and my playroom). 

Then the good news that, with the exception of the curtains for the music room, they will be installed on December 4th, with the remaining pair due on January 15th. This is much earlier than expected and the decorating won't be finished by that date so the fitter will put it all up and then, if I'm happy with the curtains, will take it all down again in the two rooms which will still have to be decorated. This means that the curtain poles will be easy to refit once the decorating is completed in those rooms - there aren't any curtain tracks/poles on any of the windows in this house, which is one of the reasons I went with this company as they offer the full fitting service and in this case will work out cheaper than me arranging for different people to do the work.

I then asked him to quote for the living room carpet and was pleasantly surprised by the price which was quite a bit cheaper than the quotes I already have but for a much better quality carpet. He's agreed to honour his price until the end of January, by which time I should be in a position to order all the flooring for the house, so that's the way it's been left for now. The only difference is that I will have to dispose of the existing carpets myself where the other quotes include that, but friends and family have offered to help so it shouldn't be a problem and it'll be worth the effort to keep the price down.

I've contacted another decorator (who did some work for me in the past) and he's coming on Tuesday to quote for sorting out the painting in the living room and my bedroom. Assuming the prices is acceptable, he can do those two rooms in the week before Christmas which means I'll be able to rehang all the curtains in time for Christmas. I'll just be left with the hall, stairs and landing to be decorated but that can all wait until the new year.

Monday, 19 November 2018

The 'A' Team

I'm classing N and S (N's apprentice) as the 'A' Team. They've done loads today and everything is ready for the plumbers to do their first fix in the bathroom tomorrow.

I used this bathroom this morning! The tiles were fixed to dry walling so N just cut it all out and will replace the missing part of the wall next time he is here.


Until it's completed I'll be using the en-suite and have to forego my evening soak in the bath.

N has also sourced the replacement handles for the internal doors, fitted one for me to be sure I was happy with it and has now gone off to order the rest (at trade price) for me. He's also going to change the hinges and set them in properly so that the internal doors close properly in the future.

I was planning to start on the garage this afternoon but they did it for me - I didn't have to ask for their help, they just offered. All I had to do was stand and point at whatever had to go and the two of them threw it in the skip for me. I am so relieved as, what to me was a huge and heavy task, has been completed in about 20 minutes. There is other stuff still to go but they need to leave room for the bath, and then they will see what else can be fitted in the skip. 

N also spotted that the legs on the new furniture weren't aligned properly. These screw in and should then be fixed with another screw to hold them in the correct position so he sorted that out for me as well.

Let's hope the appointment with the curtain company goes as well this afternoon!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Sunday

It's a lovely sunny day but I've opted for a quiet day at home. I woke with the urge to 'get on with things' so that's what I've done.

So far I've dealt with emails, which took ages, and caught up with most of the blogs I read. I've started some chili in the slow cooker and a bit pot of fridge soup on the hob, all of which is destined for the freezer. I've tidied round in the kitchen and living room and will vacuum the floors once I've finished this post. There's one load of washing drying on the clothes horse and another load will be finished soon. After lunch I'll carry on with sorting the band music folders, ready for January - if I set my mind to it I can get it finished today and will be able to take everything back on Saturday, so 5 more big plastic storage boxes out of the house! Depending on how long that takes I may carry on with some more of the band admin but if not, it is definitely a job for tomorrow.

I have another 'at home' day tomorrow. N will be back to carry on with whatever he is doing and the sales rep will be here in the afternoon to measure up for the curtains. The skip should be changed over tomorrow which means that, weather permitting, I'll be able to make a start on disposing of some of the stuff in the garage. It may be taking ages but at long last I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Choices, Choices, Choices!

I have an appointment on Monday to order the made to measure curtains for the living room. I need two pairs, one short set for the front window which faces on to the street and one full length set for the French windows leading out to the garden.

I've opted to go with Hillarys as they provide the complete service - measuring, ordering, supplying and fitting the curtain pole/track and fitting the finished curtains and tie backs. I know they are expensive but at this stage I need the full service and it's worth the expense on this occasion. Their Black Friday deal is very good (and helped influence my decision!) as they are offering 50% reduction with an extra 10% off on top.

I ordered the fabric samples a couple of weeks ago and have whittled them down to this final selection. 


My choice is between these two ... 



although I prefer the reverse side of the second one as it shows more of the shimmery silver. This photo also shows a more accurate shade of mauve and sofa colour ...



I like the mauve but have noticed that they also do these designs in 'berry' which, if it's more of a red shade, will be the colour I go for. The salesperson will bring samples of all the fabric swatches so I'll be able to see before I order.

The finished curtains will have thermal linings (essential for the coldest room in the house) and will probably have pinched pleated heading but I'll take advice from the salesperson as to whether that finish will be suitable for this fabric.

Friday, 16 November 2018

The Simple Woman's Daybook | Friday 16th November

FOR TODAY - FRIDAY 16TH NOVEMBER

Outside my window ... it's a grey day and is trying to rain.

I am thinking ... about the next (and final) stage of the home improvements. So far every room is painted white so I have the blank canvas to which I now need to add the colour. This is the exciting stage and I am thoroughly enjoying myself! 

I am thankful ... that I took the decision to retire. Even though I now have very few commitments, time is still precious and I am enjoying the challenge of making the most of it.

In the kitchen ... the freezers need to be refilled. I've already made the lists of the meals I want to bulk cook and have organised the shopping list but I can't get started until they stop switching off the electricity at numerous times during the day. The improvement work is the priority so the cooking will have to wait until they are finished ... hopefully within the next two weeks.

I am wearing ... my winter dressing gown - blue towelling and very cosy. I didn't set the alarm this morning as the workmen won't be in until later, so slept in and haven't really got my act together yet!

I am creating ... ideas for the garden, which will be the big project for next year.

I am going ... to drive over to Corsham later today to take some more band instruments for repair.

I am wondering ... whether I need to find another person to complete the decorating. The work the current one did in the living room isn't really up to standard, so I may go back to the man who decorated one of the bedrooms last year.

I am reading ... 'London Calling' by James Craig, which is the choice for the December book group meeting. I've only just started it.


I am hoping ...  that my next visit to the doctor results in a reduction of my blood pressure medication. I'm keeping fingers crossed as this will indicate a significant improvement in my health.

I am looking forward to ... band practice tomorrow. The new beginners are good fun and quick learners, and it's a pleasure to spend an hour with them every week. We have a lot to pack in tomorrow morning - recap of last week, quiz, learn a new note and two new tunes, and celebrate one boy's 8th birthday. 

I am learning ... to use some of the more advanced features of Lightroom (my photo editing software). Progress is slow!

Around the house ...  It's organised chaos! The en-suite is finished (except for the flooring) and they have started on the family bathroom and the airing cupboard. The main bedroom is still their work room and every other room in the house is being used to store boxes, linen and furniture.
   
I am pondering ... how I feel about the demise of my iPad. I haven't really reached any conclusions yet as it's still early days but have noted that I am now more productive and am sleeping better.

One of my favourite things ... playing Christmas carols. It's that time of year again and we are currently playing through all the carols with the children in preparation for our Christmas season which starts on November 24th with the Shopper's Carol Service in the Parish Church.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... I'll be going to see the second Fantastic Beasts film on Monday, the second Mama Mia film on Wednesday, a Family History meeting on Thursday and the Film Society on Friday. I have medical appointments on Thursday and also have a couple of coffee mornings to fit in. The workmen will be here every day but I can happily leave them to it while I get on with my social life!

A peek into my day ... a drive to Corsham with the instruments and then, if it stays dry, will take some photos.

A favourite quote for today ... "It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not", Denis Waitley

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Take Three Thursday

I'm sharing three photos for Mary-Lou's Take Three Thursday, where we are asked to share three photos that are linked in some way, for example either by theme, colour, date, movement, points of view.

I haven't ventured far for my three photos today, choosing to capture images of what's happening in the garden right now ...

crab apples - too small for culinary use so left for the birds to enjoy

Hydrangea 'Fire and Ice' - the last few petals 

the end of it's autumn display, the last few leaves on the euonymus
Many thanks to Mary-Lou for organising this each week.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Organising: Days 2 and 3

Day 2: The shredding is done! All of it! Every single last bit of it! Done!

Day 3: I didn't get round to the bulk cooking yesterday and it's unlikely to happen today either - I need the electricity to stay on all day before I make a start, so bulk cooking will have to wait for now. Instead, I'll be listing the audio equipment for sale. A local company is offering cash for old audio equipment so I'm in the process of playing 'hunt the audio stuff' to decide what can be disposed of in this way, assuming that the company will make an offer for all of it.

Once I've finished that, the rest of the day will be devoted to sorting out some band music folders. It's a nice easy, but time consuming, job and is another of those behind the scene tasks which will make rehearsals so much easier in January. It also removes two large plastic boxes of music from the house once it is completed, so an added bonus for me!

Tonight I have three friends coming round. We'll be sharing a takeaway and then sounding out new/different ideas for meeting up. I'll be offering to host film nights (which has already been agreed so we just need to agree dates, etc.) and also sounding out the possibility of 'bring and share' meals. It'll be interesting to see what the others come up with.

Last night was the girl's night out with Julie, Lauren and Sue, and the welcome addition of Kelsey (Julie's third daughter). We went back to the monthly quiz but didn't win this time, coming in 2nd! We did win a bottle of wine for scoring the most points in round 1 and a £10 token for the team name that made the question master laugh - we called ourselves 'We Peaked Last Time' (when we won). We now have £50 in vouchers so we plan to go early to the next one and have a meal before the quiz starts.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Organising: Day 1

It's been the day for organising. I've spent all day working on various bits of admin, some personal but most of it was band related. Personal admin, once I looked at it properly, amounted to about one hours work - one letter to write and then filing. The band admin took the rest of the day and I'm still not finished. When I started there were four piles of papers each as high as the unit in the photo, and lots of sorting, filing, shredding and a 'not today' pile I've ended up with the five small piles you can see on the shelf in this photo ...


This is the new mahogany unit, placed below the wall mounted TV which you can just see at the top of the photo. It's a bit grainy as I forgot to reset the camera, but you get the idea of what it looks like. It's been invaluable as a collating table when sorting out all the documents today - I don't know how I managed without it! After today's effort I'm left with three of these piles to take to the storage room on Saturday for retention, my black and red music folders to be stored in my music room as they will not be used until January, and the final pile (the smallest with the yellow labels on top) is the 'not today' pile and I will need to deal with it later on. Luckily it was the kerbside paper recycling collection today so all of the unwanted paper has already left the house.

I've sorted out some books for donation to charity which A will collect on Wednesday, and one book to return to J which will also be collected on Wednesday. They, together with L, are coming round for the evening on Wednesday and will hopeful remember their diaries so we can sort out arrangements for meeting together over the next few weeks.

Tomorrow, I have to take some instruments to the repairer and, on the way home will stop off in the supermarket to buy the rest of the ingredients I need to make a start on the bulk cooking. I may even make a start on the shredding as well!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Sunday


The band has turned down requests to play at various Remembrance Services over the last few years due to the inexperience of the children but this year we decided that the main band was ready to take on the responsibility of playing at such an important event and we accepted an invite to play at the Westbury service.

It was freezing ... bright sunshine but a bitterly cold wind. There's always a lot of waiting in between playing in these sort of services but despite the fact that none of us could feel our fingers by the time we had to play, the children played beautifully. We're all really proud of them. 

Friday, 9 November 2018

Friday

The technician had just left after inspecting the furniture. Apparently the 'fault' is not a fault but is how the furniture is now made and, even if I asked for replacements the same problems would be visible and could possibly be even worse. He went on to say that this type of complaint was now the norm and I was lucky as it is even worse on darker fabrics! I asked what, in his experience, he thought the resolution will be and he said that as it isn't a manufacturing fault they are unlikely to uphold the complaint. Not good news, but then he went on to say that he used to make furniture so knew how to make it look better and proceeded to fix it for me at no charge (to me) by hammering the piping into a different shape and position to cover the staples. I'll be interested to see what the company says but it now looks so much better and I'm happy again.

Yesterday's tiredness seems to have resolved itself. I'm putting it down to stress rather than a bug with maybe an element of adjusting to the new medication thrown in. I only have a few admin things to do this morning so have a fairly easy day ahead of me and will try to get out for a walk later if the rain holds off.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Thursday

This is my second day of reducing my blood pressure medication and I'm tired all the time. Yesterday I slept for most of the afternoon and evening, and then all through the night. Today, I'm up at my usual time, although woken by the alarm this morning, and I've already dozed off on the sofa while waiting for the kettle to boil. I'm sure it's a coincidence and nothing to do with the change in medication ... maybe I've picked up one of the many bugs that are being passed around?

Luckily I don't have much arranged today so don't have to go out if I don't want to. D will be here in a few minutes to continue the work on the bathroom and I am expecting a Tesco delivery this afternoon, but that's it. The time is my own to do what I want but I know it's not going to be the shredding because I caught myself thinking that I was too tired to consider doing that ... any excuse!!

It's raining on and off so I don't know whether I'll go for a walk or not. I was considering a pleasant amble along the canal towpath, complete with camera, but the weather isn't the best so ... I'm not sure. My reading chair is calling me!

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Some Progress ...

Thank you for your comments yesterday. The prize breakfast was huge and very tasty ... so tasty that I forgot to take a photo but here's a picture of the place itself, The Barn at Bathford.


A quick update on the complaint about the furniture .... the manufacturer has seen the photos and has arranged for a technician to visit to produce a report. Further action on their part will be determined by this report. The technician has already contacted me and arranged to visit on Friday, so not too long to wait. 

I spoke to Julie and Lauren last night and we've actually managed to agree a date to go to see the second Fantastic Beasts film. Lauren is booking the seats today. Finding a mutually agreeable date without someone (usually me!) having to change something already in the diary is a major achievement and I can't quite believe that we've managed it so easily!

The shredder has now been moved to the living room so I can get on with all the tedious and mind numbing shredding that needs to be done. I haven't plugged it in yet or actually shredded any documents but I'm counting this as progress.

I've done my 15 minutes walking for today. My knees are protesting a little now but I was expecting that and know that it will get easier if I exercise regularly. I think it'll take longer than expected to get back to the 30 minutes a day so will just take it slower than I'd planned.

I've found a local company that buys old video players etc. so have emailed them with details of all the items I want to get rid of. I'm not expecting to get much for them but it will be better than disposing of them at the skip. I've got my act together and have photographed some of the other items I want to sell so will sort out the adverts for that later this week. I also have an idea forming on what to do with all the cameras and accessories but need to do a bit more research on this before I take any action. Once I've dealt with all of this I'll just be left with some specialist books to sell and the decluttering project will be completed.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Ups and Downs

First the downs ... there's only one but it's a biggie ...

A close examination of the new sofa and reading chair made me very unhappy and I have made a formal complaint about the quality of the finish - on both items of furniture a line of staples, which I think are to do with attaching the piping and should be hidden, are visible. I went over to the store to see the display pieces but they are no longer on display. However, I'd taken photos and the sales person agreed with me, i.e. that it wasn't acceptable and gave me the details to make the written complaint. This has been done and acknowledged; the photos have now been sent to the manufacturer for their comments and proposed action, so it's a case of waiting to hear what they have to say.  

Thankfully, there are more ups ...

D and J are back today to finish the en-suite and will continue with the rest of the plumbing/tiling in the main bathroom without interruption until the job is finished.  

The film shown last night at Screen Unseen was The Old Man and the Gun starring Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek. I'm not sure that I rate it as a 'good' film that I'd rush to recommend to everyone, but it was an enjoyable way to spend an evening with a few laughs woven in. 

I feel ready to try the daily 30 minute walking again. My knees, whilst still painful, are no longer preventing me from exercising so I will start with 15 minutes and gradually build up to the daily 30 minute walk. The FitBit is recharging as I type this. 

I had some good news from the doctor yesterday. My blood pressure has improved sufficiently to try to reduce the medication I take daily so instead of the combination of three different medications I currently take, for the next two weeks I will only be taking two of them. He'll review it at my next appointment in two weeks and if the reading is still okay I will be able to come off that particular medication for good. I'm particularly happy about this as the medication that I'm stopping is the one with the nasty side affects on liver and kidney functions, so if I can manage without it I will no longer need the regular blood tests.

I've won the grand prize of two English breakfasts in a Facebook competition so I'm meeting L in about 30 minutes to claim my prize. I can't think of a better way to start the day!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Films

We’re off to watch ODEON Screen Unseen tonight (where you don’t know which film you’ll be watching until it starts). We were very lucky with the last one, which was A Simple Favour, so fingers crossed for a good one tonight. All that’s promised is that it won’t be a horror film, won’t be one of the big blockbusters (so it won’t be the new Fantastic Beasts film) but will be a film which they believe will be a future classic and won't have been released for general distribution yet. 

It’s been a good week for films. Last Thursday we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody which was absolutely brilliant ... take tissues if you get emotional when you watch films. I've always liked Queen's music but wasn't an avid fan of the group so only knew a bit of the story and this film filled in some of the gaps. Next time I go to the library I'll look out for a biography of Freddie Mercury, if such a thing exists.

Yesterday I watch War Horse, another emotional film although strangely it didn't affect me as much as the stage show did. It's worth watching if you haven't seen it before and again, have plenty of tissues handy. Some of it was filmed in this area and for once I could place the location - usually I don't! 

When this was finished I made myself a snack and then settled down to watch Hugo. I first watched this a few years ago and enjoyed it just as much the second time. It does get a bit emotional at the end but I think I was a bit cried out from War Horse, so no actual tears were shed this time!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released on November 16th so Julie and Lauren are taking me to watch it as a birthday treat. This is assuming we can find a date we can all make, something which is proving impossible at present!

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Living In The Moment

It's pouring down so I'm quite content to be warm and cosy indoors today. I don't have any plans for the day except to drift through, doing whatever grabs my attention.

My iPad had breathed its last! It was a gift from Ced about ten years ago, has been well used and will be missed but ... I'm not sure that I will bother to replace it. My first thought was that I need to rush out and buy another tablet but, after a little thought, I'm not sure that I do. If I'm honest with myself having the iPad in the living room, while both useful and convenient, was also a major time waster. I repeatedly found myself scrolling through the iPad while I was 'watching' a TV programme or 'reading' a book, but the truth is I wasn't doing anything properly so satisfaction suffered as a result.

I've been thinking about this for a while but the loss of the iPad has brought it to the fore. It's about being in the moment which often I'm not. The iPad stopped working properly on Friday morning so since then I have been fully focused on whatever activity I've been doing ... and that full focus makes every activity so much more rewarding. I've shocked myself with how frequently I've interrupted whatever I've been doing to reach for the iPad when there was nothing in particular I wanted to use it for ... it's become a habit, and not a very healthy one. 

I have the laptop in the playroom upstairs so there is no real need for a tablet downstairs and I think, once I've got used to it, I will feel happier and more fulfilled as a result. I'm convinced the change can only improve my mental health which will have a knock on effect on how many and what type of activities I choose to do. Time will tell, but for the next few months I plan to focus on living in the moment and see how it goes! 

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Saturday Checklist

It's been a very productive day so far, although I doubt that I'll do much more now.

As it's half term there was no band rehearsal with the children today, so I met with two other members of the music team to sort out the mess that is the children's music folders. The aim was to make sure they all have the correct parts of the pieces we'll work on in January (we're on Christmas music until then), and to remove all the rest of the music ... all the additional copies because of 'I don't have that part/couldn't be bothered to look for it' ... and the unread newsletters which didn't make it home to parents ... and the order of service from last year's church services ... you get the idea! We'd only set aside two hours to do this so didn't get it all done but we've checked over half of the folders and next week I'll ask a couple of the  committee members to finish the rest. 

Back home for lunch and then I did a quick inventory of the small freezer in the kitchen and the store cupboard items. I already know what's in the big freezer, so next week I'll decide on the recipes I want to cook and then draw up a shopping list. 

Since then I've settled in the living room with the huge pile of band admin which is now sorted into the relevant piles. Thankfully most of it doesn't require my action so I can simply pass it over to the secretary for filing. I just have to file the instrument forms, print out various stock take/inventory forms, and then update the spreadsheet with recent transactions, probably a couple of hours work at most. Then I need to sort out the two boxes of music I brought home today to file the unused copies of the pieces, probably a day's effort but I won't do it all in one go. 

Tonight is a night in front of the TV, assuming there is something on worth watching, and if not then maybe curl up in my reading chair and finish my latest book.

Friday, 2 November 2018

I'm Reviewing The Situation ....

I posted this on September 10th 2018, about 8 weeks ago, so am looking back at some of the things I said to assess progress ... if any! I'm not scoring to show the status of each category at this stage because every aspect of my life has been affected by the work on the house.

MusicI have decided on the revised approach but haven't actually implemented the changes. Daily playing of either piano or brass will definitely happen but realistically cannot feature in my daily life until the messy work is finished and I can move the things I stored for safety in the music room back to their proper places. When that happens I will be able to reach the piano! The new orchestra idea has been abandoned, mainly because of the need for additional flute practice of the orchestral pieces and I don't want to make that extra commitment. Instead I've decided to try a singing group which meets on a Monday evening - I'll try that in the weeks up to Christmas and see how I get on.

Photography - I contacted the organiser of the local U3A photography group who has confirmed that there are spaces and I'm welcome to join them ... so far, so good.  However, it's not held on the day advertised as the organiser still works, so is held on any day each month when she happens to be free. I don't mind the flexibility of this arrangement and in many ways it suits me, but unfortunately I have had other commitments on the dates they've met so far, leaving me undecided whether this will work for me. It was supposed to be a Thursday event but so far has been held on every other weekday but a Thursday! I'll keep trying and will review after Christmas to see if I need to make other arrangements.

In the meantime I plan to (re)start doing the monthly mini scavenger hunts organised by Kate (I think I did a couple of these when they first started) and the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt starts on December 1st, Both of these will help to keep me occupied photographically.

Health and Fitness - this aspect of my life is not going too well. I went for the assessment at the gym and made the decision that it wasn't for me. Two of the exercises I 'had' to do were excruciatingly painful at the time of doing the exercise. I only managed a couple of repetitions of each one before I had to stop and was told to just leave them out of the plan they'd devised for me, but when I thought about it at home later, I realised I'd be paying a lot of money every month just to use the treadmill and a chair! So I cancelled and have continued with the walking ... as much as I've been able to do, bearing in mind that the pain from the assessment is still affecting my daily life and is the reason for the x-rays and scans I had yesterday.

I have identified two suitable walking for health groups and am waiting to hear back from one or other of the leaders. The walks are on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and last for approximately 45 minutes. I'm only intending to do one to start with.

Socialising - The first girls night out with Julie and Lauren was successful and we have agreed the date for the next one. I've also mentioned to other friends about doing a film night at home and they are keen but we need to wait until the work is finished so realistically this may not happen until after Christmas. We also discussed the possibility of have a monthly meet up on say the first Monday of the month, always in same place at same time and that people turn up if they can/want to. I think this will definitely happen but is still very much in the discussion stage.

So, some progress made but not as much as I'd have liked. I'm hoping that by the end of November I'll have started the daily music practice, the walking for health, the singing group, and the photography group.

I'm also setting myself five tasks to complete during November. They are all biggish tasks, each taking longer than a day (in total) to complete and are all things that are on my mind but which I don't seem to get round to doing properly.
  1. Dispose of old VCRs, DVD players and games consoles
  2. Shredding!!
  3. Bulk cooking to refill the freezer
  4. Finish sorting out band admin and return finished folders to storage room in Town Hall (where we practice)
  5. Start checking that everything is removed from the old computers
I'll do a separate update on my 12 things to celebrate my retirement.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Hospital and Home

Despite being advised to allow plenty of time, possibly all day, the x-rays and scans have been completed and I'm back home. I've even had time to get my hair cut! I have an appointment to see my GP on Monday to have my medication reviewed but may also be able to get some of the results then.

The plumber is here fitting the toilet, radiator, shower and basin. Then the electrician has to return to wire up the shower and the en-suite, with the exception of the flooring, will be finished. It seems to be more noisy than usual so I'll be glad when this part is over.

We're going to the cinema later on to watch 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. For some reason we're going to the 5:30pm screening; I don't know who chose this time but I do know that I won't want to eat beforehand so will be starving by the time it's ended. Hopefully, the plan for the evening includes going for a meal afterwards!

I had one piece of good news yesterday - the final unit for the living room was ordered on Monday with a 12-15 working days delivery timescale but they phoned to see if I'd accept delivery tomorrow. They were very apologetic about inconveniencing me but I'm over the moon - once the old sofa is disposed of I can set to and finish arranging the living room. This is the best bit!