Sunday, 31 March 2019


My joyful activity for today is in two parts. Part 1 was to purchase this book; after trailing round numerous stores to be told they'd sold out, I was walking back to the car and I passed the bookshop, which I didn't realise was open on a Sunday, and there on the first display were their last three copies of the book. Part 2 is to sit down with a coffee and look through the book to see what I fancy cooking first. I've been cooking up some of the recipes on their website but think I will prefer the book as the website has, understandably, lots of adverts to scroll through.

And that's the sum total of my activities and plans for the day! It's much cooler so I can't see me spending any time in the garden or going out to take any photos, but I may just summon up enough energy to cook one of the recipes from the book.

It's the last day of the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt today so I'll post the linky tomorrow for your final selection posts.

Saturday, 30 March 2019


Obviously, my joyful activity for today was band practice! It was good fun as always with the challenge (for the kids) of new music to try out. It was our final practice before Easter and we now have a three week break before we resume for the summer term.

After practice is was back home for lunch and a quick walk around the garden.

lovely colour on the crab apple tree
I watched Gardeners World last night and according to the wonderful Monty Don it is now time to prune lace-cap hydrangeas. I've had a look at mine and I think his must be further along than mine as there is very little new green growth to see so I will leave it for a few days before I get the secateurs out.

I have another food delivery coming this afternoon, this time store cupboard items. Once that's here I will be in a better position to attempt to follow the Slimming World plan properly so later on I will search through the SW friendly recipes and decide on meals for the next week or so. I'll need to shop for fresh fruit and veg next week but I have enough to last until Tuesday, so there's no need to rush out to stock up.

The rest of the day will be spent at home. I have a couple of letters to write to penfriends and I'd like to carry on with my family tree research if I have time. The Brokenwood Mysteries is on TV tonight so I plan to be settled in front of the TV to watch that, then a bit of reading, a soak in the bath and an early night ... an entire afternoon and evening of joyful activities!

Friday, 29 March 2019


My plans my plans for today were to go food shopping, then back home for S as it’s her day to turn up and make my house sparkle, then an afternoon out and about with my camera for my joyful activity.

But, best laid plans and all that ... I’m not feeling well so can’t go out. It’s my own fault as I realised this morning that I didn’t take any of my medication yesterday. I need an easy day so am staying at home. Then I had a phone call from the cleaning company to say that S is poorly and offering a substitute but it suits me to have the house to myself today so I declined. The house looks clean and tidy so I’ve said I will wait until S’s next scheduled visit. 

Picking another choice from my list, my joyful activity has changed to garden planning ... I’m considering growing fruit in hanging baskets and am also looking st the possibility of a couple of patio fruit trees. I’ve grown cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket before and that was really successful, and it seems that you can now get several varieties of soft fruit to grow in hanging baskets. I have decisions to make!

I forgot to mention that I weighed myself yesterday and have lost another 3lbs.

Hawthorn's March Scavenger Hunt

I'm linking up with Kate over at I live, I love, I craft, I am me ... for her March scavenger hunt.

Flat | I had a complete blank on this one and in the end settled on the musical symbol to denote a flat. A bit boring I'm afraid ...

Wheel | some the gear wheels used to make a horse from Meccano. This was made by my late partner and is now treasured by me.

Ragged | there's still beauty to be seen in the dying days of the daffodil

Swing | Another boring one ... a swing in one of the neighborhood playgrounds. Somewhere I have a set of photos of a rope swing over water but of course I couldn't find them when I needed them!

Pots | taken yesterday at the local garden centre; I need to repot the euonymus but even with this selection I couldn't find one I liked!

Own choice | it's magnolia season!

Many thanks to Kate for organising this monthly scavenger hunt.

Thursday, 28 March 2019


I was up and out early this morning. It was still misty when I left home at 7 am but that soon cleared and the sun showed itself. The aim was just to take some photos (my joyful activity for today) and if possible find the ones I still need for the scavenger hunts. No luck on that front, but I did enjoy the time concentrating on camera and photos with no need to rush home. 

I ended up at the canal for a short walk ... my legs are aching from yesterday's exertions! This is the towpath and direction I usually choose for my walks; this way takes you back into Trowbridge and then on to Bradford on Avon, heading towards Bath (although I've never walked that far yet!). The other way leads to Semington and on to Devizes.

I have some more bits and pieces of admin to finish, and then want to place some more adverts. Depending on how I feel I may spend a bit of time out in the garden afterwards, carrying on with the clearing.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019


It's a glorious day and I've been scavenging for photos this morning - my joyful activity for the day. It been a successful hunt and I now only have two more to find for the WPSH and one more to find for the March hunt. 

I ended up in Steeple Ashton, a pretty village about 5 miles from home, where I thought I'd be able to find some of the photos I was looking for. I parked up and got out of the car, then asked the first person I saw if she knew where there was a holly bush anywhere in the village. She said she had some growing in her garden and if I followed her (she was on her bike) I was quite welcome to photograph it ... it turns out she lives in the Manor House and her garden is huge (think along the lines of small stately home!). I photographed the holly and we chatted about what I need the photo for, with the end result that I also got three more photos for other prompts as well. So a huge thank you to Penny!

I checked my Fitbit when I got home to find that I've done over 12,000 steps this morning, so I'm counting that as my exercise for the day. I'll think about getting some lunch soon and then have a quiet afternoon at home. I'm expecting a delivery to arrive between 2pm and 4pm so need to find something indoors to occupy myself with as I can't hear the doorbell in the garden.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019


I have to go into town later on to pay in some cheques, speak to the management at the Town Hall about booking the practice rooms for the band, and a bit of retail therapy ... I still have a couple of book tokens from birthday and Christmas last year, so will have a look to see if anything takes my fancy.

I moved the pots and garden furniture around yesterday, and have ended up with this arrangement for the time being ...

The bench will eventually be moved to the end of the garage but for now it's in as good a place as any. It'll be a pleasant spot for early evening when the sun has moved over to the other side of the garden. When I get back from town I'll wash the furniture and then it's ready for slightly warmer mornings when I can eat my breakfast in the garden ... can't wait.

The advertised item sold which has encouraged me to get some more of the items advertised, especially the bigger things that are taking up space; that's a task for this afternoon. 

As for my joyful activity today, I'm carrying on with the family tree as I thoroughly enjoyed myself yesterday. I'm still at the tidying up stage but by the end of today's session will hopefully be in a position to decide on a plan to fill the gaps in my research. 

Monday, 25 March 2019


My trip to Lacock has had to be postponed, but for a good reason. I've had a response to one of the adverts and that person is coming to look at the item this morning ... fingers crossed for a sale! She's coming by 1pm, by which time it will be too late for me to get to Lacock, take the photos, and get back in time for the first session of teaching, so I've had to rethink my joyful activity for today. 

I've been trying to come up with a list of ideas and some of the ideas on the list relate to existing hobbies/interests that I never seem to find the time for. One of these is the family tree research, so that's my chosen activity for today - it jumped out at me when I was reading through the list. The starting point is to tidy up some of the entries and at the same time refresh my memory of what's been done so far. I've been working on it since breakfast and when I stopped for a coffee, I was surprised to see that nearly two hours had passed. Time flies when you're having fun! 

I need to stop for now as I have to prepare some stuff for the band music team meeting tonight; it's just printing out a few things and making some notes - about 30 minutes maximum. Then I'll have some lunch and afterwards, will make a start on tidying the patio.

This is what it looks like before I've done anything ...

The table keeps getting moved (by others, not me) and is edging its way further down the garden! My plan is to deal first with the pots by the trellis in the second photo and move them over to the other pots near the garage door. That will hopefully leave enough space for the garden furniture to fit in front of the trellis. I say hopefully because there has to be enough space for the French doors to open fully but I can't work that out in my head, so will need to move everything and then actually open to doors!

Sunday, 24 March 2019


I'm spending the morning flitting between the kitchen and the music room. I had a delivery from Iceland yesterday (the frozen food company not the country!) and am now cooking up some Slimming World friendly recipes. In between that, I've created enough space in the music room to reach the piano so am indulging myself, playing some of my favourite pieces. I've taken a break for now, firstly to write this post and secondly to get my act together and cook something to eat later. The bulk cooking is for the freezer but for now I need to prepare something to share with the friends who will be arriving later.

On Bless' blog today she mentioned the suggestion by her daughter that Bless should challenge herself to do a daily joyful activity. I think this is a brilliant idea and is something that will undoubtedly enhance my life, so I'm pinching the idea for myself ... thank you Bless for writing about it and to your daughter for coming up with the idea! Obviously I hadn't anything in mind for today as I only read the post this morning but no point in delaying, so I've phoned round to some friends who will be arriving at 1 o'clock for a bring and share meal. I'm going to make a rice dish and will see if I have the ingredients to make a dessert but if not, there is plenty of fresh fruit here. A is bring a selection of cold meats and salad, but I don't know what the other two are planning. It's a spur of the moment thing but I'm really looking forward to seeing my friends and to an afternoon chatting and catching up with everyone's news. I also need to come up with a idea for tomorrow and, as the weather forecast promises good weather, one option is to drive over the Lacock and make a start on the photo project I keep thinking about but never actually get started.

To finish, the new year's growth on the spirea. I thought it hadn't survived the winter so am very happy to see it waking up for spring.

Saturday, 23 March 2019


It was the usual Saturday morning band session and I'm now back at home, wanting a rest. I don't know why, but it tired me out this morning and I want an easy afternoon. By five o-clock I should have received a food delivery, and once I've put it away I can do whatever I fancy .... which is absolutely nothing!

The first summer snowflake is in flower with plenty of shoots from the others to follow on. I hope to place an online order for some more plants tomorrow, with a view to getting at least part of the garden tidied and planted out.

The kitchen re-org is finished. The next thing will be to get on and place the adverts for the things I want to sell, which will be next week's task. 

Back tomorrow, when hopefully I'll have more energy!

Friday, 22 March 2019


I have to hang around at home for some deliveries today so I can finish what I started yesterday, which was to spring clean the kitchen. It all started because I noticed that a couple of the freezer drawers were in need of a clean ... which led to defrosting the freezer and cleaning all of it ... which led to emptying and cleaning the fridge ... which led to emptying and cleaning the food cupboards. You get the idea?

The outside of the cupboards were cleaned by my brilliant cleaner last Friday, I've done the interiors, so what's left to do today is more of an organising exercise. I've been wanting to rearrange the kitchen cupboards for a while as the current arrangement doesn't make best use of the limited space. It sounds like an horrendous job but I have a tiny kitchen and there are only three cupboards and one shelf at the bottom of the dresser involved in this game of swapsies, so it won't take long to do. The remaining three cupboards on the other side were done when I sorted out the spices.

I'll leave you with a photo from the garden ... much more interesting than the inside of my kitchen cupboards!

Thursday, 21 March 2019


Let's talk about food!

Some of you may know that I've started looking at Slimming World (SW) as a lifestyle change in the hope that I will be able to lose all the excess weight I'm carrying around. I decided on a gradual change to the SW plan, partly because I have home-cooked meals in the freezer that aren't particularly SW friendly but that need to be eaten up, but mostly because I want to avoid triggering migraines which I know can happen in response to changes to my diet. 

So far I've been concentrating on eating a bigger breakfast and setting myself up for the day; that's been happening for most of this month. Towards the end of last week I also started eating a SW friendly meals as my main meal of the day. This hasn't been every day as I've alternated with the freezer meals to get them used up. 

today's breakfast: two scrambled eggs (no milk added, just a little salt and some black pepper for seasoning) 
and two slices of wholemeal bread (no butter)

Yesterday I looked back over what I've been doing and have settled on a couple of things that need sorting. I definitely have to plan my meals (or at least until I'm sure that I understand the SW plan properly) as, looking back through my food diary, it is easy to see how a small tweak would have meant that I was fully on plan. The same applies to my home-cooked freezer meals; small tweaks will make them SW friendly without impacting on the taste, so that's a simple fix next time I do some bulk cooking. SW may also have a knock-on effect on how and when I do the food shopping.

I'll continue on the two daily SW meals for the time being with the aim of being 100% on the plan by the middle of April. The main thing I need to sort out is some micro meals for the freezer to eat after I've had a bad migraine and/or when I've taken medication to try to prevent one developing. It's going to take some thinking about but won't be impossible to come up with ideas. 

Until then, I'm just going to feel chuffed that I weighed myself this morning and have lost 2lbs! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019


Here's the results of yesterday's efforts, photographed in the spare bedroom but have now been moved into my own bedroom.

There should be two boxes, side by side, on each cabinet but it seems I bought the wrong size so there's only room for one on each at the moment. The other two boxes have already been put to use and are now filled with sewing bits and bobs. These two boxes will probably end up in the same place once I've found something to replace them.

Plans for today involve a trip into town. I have to issue music folders to the beginners ready for their move into the junior band so need to collect some music and folders. I also have some banking to do, and some food shopping. Then it'll be back home to get started on some bulk cooking for the freezer and once everything is bubbling away in the kitchen, will spend an hour or so preparing the music folders ready for Saturday.

I was completely wrong about people's reaction to the book group choice. We were a very reduced number last night through illness, but the ones who went all enjoyed the book and the end vote was a 7.5 out of 10. Our next choice is 'The Storyteller' by Jodi Picoult. I haven't read any of her books before so don't know what to expect from this one.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


Just to warn you .... there may be swearing today! The reason? It's this ...

... I'm assembling the IKEA bedside cabinets I bought last week. I've only just started the first one so am still feeling enthusiastic and nothing has gone wrong so far ... long may that last! I usually get on okay with this sort of thing but it is one area of life where I'm missing Ced as he would have done this, not me. I'd have gone into the kitchen to make a coffee and in that time he would have had the first one almost finished, whereas it's taken me that long to get the box open!

It's book group tonight and I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone and to hear what they thought of the book. I've known everyone long enough to have some idea of their literary likes and dislikes and I think this book (The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams) will be a 'dislike' for the majority ... it'll be an interesting discussion.

In between finishing the cabinets and trotting off to book group I'd like to do some music practice; there's a possibility that I can get to the piano for the first time in ages, but this is dependent on the cabinet building going smoothly. I need to go and get on with it ... no more procrastinating!

Monday, 18 March 2019


Today's excitement is the delivery of the armchair! My worry about it being a completely different shade proved to be unnecessary and it is a good colour match to the existing sofas (it's just the light from the window that's putting the yellowish tint on the armchair!).

I've moved the furniture around and the Davenport has been returned to its original place at the other end of the room as this means that I can see Ced's photo every time I walk into the room and also when I'm sat in any of my chosen spots, without the bother of reflections. I need to find one more small side table and sell the other two larger ones, and then the room is finished in terms of furniture. The last task will be to decide on and purchase the art for the walls.

Sunday, 17 March 2019


After another restless night today's plan is to do very little ...

... maybe some TV, but definitely reading with a steady supply of food and coffee! This is the latest book group choice and I need to finish it for Tuesday night, but I'm a bit bored by it and I'm only a third of the way through it! It's 'The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul' by Douglas Adams - has anyone read it?

Saturday, 16 March 2019


Band practice was good fun this morning. My beginners played really well, so well that we are trying them with the junior band next week ... just on the pieces they have played so far. 

My plan for this afternoon was to assemble the new bedside cabinets but I’m too tired to even think about it, so instead I will be doing this ....

... trying to work out why the laptop has frozen. 

Friday, 15 March 2019


I slept well last night despite the wind, which raged all night and is still blowing a hoolie out there today. I was woken a few times by the noise but each time, went back to sleep quickly. My retail therapy tired me out!

So as promised, here's what I bought in IKEA yesterday ...

For the kitchen | a splash guard for the frying pan, three pots for herbs (but now think I should have got a bigger size!), pasta bowls to match my plates, and some silicone muffin cases. My impulse buy was the paper napkins ... they weren't on the list but I don't have any, so will be used.

For the living room | a pink and cream throw.

For the bathroom | three white face cloths and a loo brush.

For the bedroom | coat hangers and shoulder shapers for when I get round to sorting out my clothes (this may encourage me to get on with it!).

and a fitted single sheet for the spare bedroom. The four smaller boxes belong with the two larger boxes and will be assembled into two bedside cabinets for my own bedroom. The cabinets are white and the only choice of the smaller boxes was this brown or dark blue, neither of which are correct. I can use the small boxes for gifts or maybe somewhere else in the house so will look around for alternatives in the correct colour. 

Thursday, 14 March 2019


I had a 'me day' today, hence the late post. I bought my ticket months ago when the tour was announced and today took myself off to Bristol to see Matthew Bourne's 'Swan Lake'. It was brilliant!

I went to the afternoon performance, which finished just in time to drive across Bristol during the rush hour ... not my favourite place to drive at the best of times let alone when it's so busy.

Anyway I survived and my next stop was IKEA for a bit of retail therapy. I'll show you my haul tomorrow but you'll be proud of me .... only one impulse buy!

Now to get something to eat and then it's an early night for me. 

Wednesday, 13 March 2019


A very quick post as I want to save the laptop battery ... we've had a power cut since yesterday afternoon. I thought it was as a result of Storm Gareth but a neighbour has said that it's due to something that workmen in the next road have done. I have no idea when it will be sorted but the sooner the better ... no heat on a cold windy day isn't much fun.

I managed to get out yesterday and buy some more boxes for the bedroom cupboard ...

... (apologies for a really grainy phone photo) ... there wasn't a great choice of colours so I opted for four with matching handles, the thinking being that I can easily cover them to make a matching set if I want to.

Back tomorrow, hopefully with power restored!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019


That wind last night! To add to the noise of the wind, British Rail are doing maintenance work on the tracks at night and we had the added accompaniment of the noise of heavy machinery; we were notified about it, but this is the first time I've been disturbed by them working. Anyway, I didn't get much sleep so it's probably going to be a 'take it reasonably easy' sort of day!

It's still blowing a gale outside and is raining from time to time, so my planned 30 minutes in the garden is unlikely to happen today. Which means I'm looking for something easy to do indoors. It might be a good day to sort out one of the kitchen cupboards, and then get my act together and start placing adverts for some of the things I want to sell.

I'm not a tidy person by nature so am pleased to report that I am rocking the 'keeping the living room' tidy rule I've imposed on myself. In the past the thing that made the room look untidy was the piles of stuff on the side table(s). If I'd been asked I'd have said it's all things I'm using and which I'd put away when I'm done, but the reality was that it was mostly things I hadn't bothered to deal with properly on a daily basis. Each time I got round to sorting out these piles of clutter there was very little that I actually used daily, and was mostly things like admin that I'd forgotten about, penfriend letters waiting for a response, recipes torn out of magazines, competitions I was going to enter ... you get the idea?

In my newly furnished and decorated living room I don't want these piles of clutter on all the surfaces - without them the room looks tidy and I don't need to rush round to make the place look presentable when visitors are expected. So this is my new approach ...

... a small basket to hold the things I genuinely want by my side when I've settled in the room - diary, latest book, magazine, planner, pen, pencil, puzzle book. With everything else I have adopted the five minute rule, so if it will take five minutes or less to deal with it's done straight away. Anything that takes longer to complete is added to the to-do list and the associated paperwork or note-to-self is placed by the bottom stair and taken up to the playroom on my next trip upstairs, ready for later action which depending on the urgency may be fitted in as soon as possible or dealt with during my Monday admin session. So far it's working well and I feel on top of things. As part of my night time routine I take a couple of minutes to collect up the stuff that have been dotted around the room during the day and dump it in the basket ready for the next day, which has the added benefit of always coming downstairs in the morning to a tidy room ... I think this is the most important part of the new tidying regime.

The basket was a B&M bargain, cloth covered and fully lined for £3.99 ($5.27). It's 35mm (L) x 28mm (W) x 18 mm (H) and also fits the shelves in the new bedroom cupboard perfectly so I'll be going back to get some more to help sort out storage of undies and the like.

Monday, 11 March 2019


There's a load of washing in the machine, the slow cooker is filled with the ingredients for a vegetable chili for my meal tonight, and I've nearly finished the admin for today. When the washing is finished I'll drive down to the bank to deposit the busking money from Saturday, and will pick up some bread, fruit and potatoes on the way home. Then the day is my own until 3:45 pm, when the teaching starts.

a new leaf on the peace lily
I had a wander round the garden this morning to see what's happening out there. There are plenty of shoots appearing which, I think, are the summer snowflakes and the crocosmia, but time will tell! What isn't happening is me getting out and finishing the clearing, so that needs to move up my priority list - half and hour a day (minimum) will soon get it cleared. 

The trellis on the back wall which the clematis grows up has broken in last night's wind so a decision has been made for me! Before this happened I was debating whether to remove the trellis to place the table and chairs against that wall, and move the clematis to the side of the garden instead. Now seems to be the ideal time to do that, I just have to decide where exactly I want the clematis to be - somewhere where I can see it from the living room window as I'll get more enjoyment from it then. I need to do it soon as the clematis is waking up and producing its new growth.

Sunday, 10 March 2019


Well, for all my self imposed ruling that the weekend should be 'my time', this is what the music room looks like after an hour's effort this morning ...

I was running through what I have planned for tomorrow and realised that I'd used my temporary teaching space, otherwise known as the dining room, to organise some of the boxes. With the music room and the dining room unsuitable for teaching, I was left with the choice of sorting out a space in one of those rooms or using the living room instead. Well, there's no way I want to teach in the living room so it made sense to clear enough space in the music room.

The things I have moved out are either upstairs in the spare bedroom (the things that need to be photographed and sold), or in the dining room (the things for the skip, the charity shop, plus the audio equipment). Hopefully I can deal with the charity shop and skip stuff tomorrow morning and then I'll be back to just the audio stuff stacked on the table. The company buying the audio stuff has responded to say they will visit within the next two weeks so it shouldn't be too long before the table is clear again.

I'll need to consider suitable seats for the teaching but for now the dining room chair and the folding chair I use when we go busking will do and I'll use the room for a while before I make a decision.

Now for the rest of the day, doing very little except enjoying myself!

Saturday, 9 March 2019


I'm enjoying a mug of hot coffee and trying to warm up. We took the children busking this morning and I'm frozen ... as soon as I finish this I'm getting into a hot bath to get warm again. It didn't rain but it was so windy ... the children are now experts in the art of pegging their music to the stands! We always count it a success if none of the music is blown away!

I'm in now for the rest of the day with plans to completely relax and do as little as possible! I hope you all have a good weekend whatever you have planned.

Friday, 8 March 2019

WPSH - February Link Up

Sorry for the late post. We're now in the last month of the scavenger hunt so if you are anything like me, you still have some to find ... good luck with the final push to collect all the photos.

I'm having problems with the Internet so can't include a linky, so please will you add a comment so other participants know who to visit. 


Just a quick post today, using my phone so I hope it works! The Internet connection failed yesterday and is still unresolved; there is a BT Openreach van in the close but I don't know whether what they are doing caused the problem or whether they are trying to effect a repair. Time will tell!

I didn't manage much of the admin yesterday because of the Internet problems and I also can't access many of your blogs from my phone, so am behind with commenting. I'll try to catch up as and when. I did some more sorting out instead, found a few more things to put away and a lot more things to sell, so I've started photographing some of the bigger things ready to place adverts when the Internet is working.

These three containers contain the last of the things I need to make decisions on. The hession bag is full of leads, adapters and electrical gubbins so once I'm sure that I have the correct leads for all the things I want to sell, the remainder will go to the skip. The other two boxes contain a mixture of the things where I can't decide whether to keep, sell or donate. 

The music room looks much the same as the previous photo, but everything has been examined and sorted into piles for sale or donation. Most of what I want to keep is in the proper place around the house but there are some instruments and music books piled up in the music room as I can't yet get to the cupboards in that room to put them away.

I won't be doing any more work on this until next week. I'm counting Friday as the weekend now I'm retired, so have been shopping this morning and after lunch plan to settle down with my book and disappear into the story.

Thursday, 7 March 2019


I wimped out and didn't do the charity shop run this morning ... it's raining and I wanted to stay dry! I have to go out tomorrow no matter what the weather is, so it'll get done then.

As for today, I'll be busy with admin, all things that can't wait until next Monday - another reference (!), renewals for car insurance, house insurance, pension correspondence, personal liability insurance, and a couple of things related to my late partner's estate. It sounds a lot but won't take too long, so my decluttering activity for today is to deal with all the stuff now piled on the table.

Most of this is audio related so I simply need to detail what I have for sale in an email to the local company. Again, it won't take long. There are a couple of cameras in this pile so they'll be put to one side until I find all the rest of the photographic equipment.

But right now, I need to go and wash my hair, ready for G's arrival in about 30 minutes. It's 'much need haircut day'!

Wednesday, 6 March 2019


Like most of the country, I should image, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night with Storm Freya banging and crashing about outside my bedroom window. It's still raining and is very windy, but it has eased off from last night.

Anyway, I've summoned up the energy to do another stint clearing out the music room and at the end of today's session the room looks like this ...

... I spy a rather dusty piano!

I now have to concentrate on disposing of the audio equipment, and to finish finding places for the stuff I want to keep. I still haven't gathered all the unwanted cameras in one place - I remember stupidly putting two of the camera bags inside the cupboard next to the doll's house, so it's going to be a few more days before I can retrieve them.

Happy finds today include the calligraphy books I thought had been thrown out, some more ornaments I want to keep, a couple of silver photo frames, and some puzzle books.

I now have three big boxes of donations for the charity shop and two black bags of rubbish for the skip. I think there'll probably be some more but it'll clear a lot of space if I move it out of the house as soon as possible. So tomorrow, if I get up early enough I'll take the boxes to the charity shop; I have to be home in time for G to cut my hair and I'm expecting a delivery in the afternoon. The skip run will have to be at the weekend as the centre is closed on Thursdays and Fridays, so for now I may move it into the garage.

I've had enough for today so once I press 'Publish' I'm going to curl up on the sofa and read. If I do feel like it later, I will continue finding places for the things I want to keep.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019


In the end, yesterday turned out to be a lovely day. I nipped out first thing to pick up the second hand side table I showed in my last post, and then I spent the rest of the day at home. It was a day filled with a few tears but mostly happy memories of our time together ... I was so lucky to meet and spend most of my adult life with him.

Teaching was fun. The Wednesday child is now also coming on Monday so I'm doing it all on one day, which suits me. The three I saw last week have all practiced and improvements can be seen - for two of them it was just a case of slowing them down and getting them to work on the basics, and the other one is focusing on correcting a poor technique. Little steps forward each week and they will soon see big differences in their playing. 

Today I slept in but woke up feeling ready to tackle the music room. This is how it looked when I started! .....

The only things in the photo that belong in the room are the brown cornet case (bottom left), the checked bag and black bag (top right), and the black music stand (centre). All the rest is either for sale or donation to a charity shop, belongs in other rooms in the house, or needs to go to the skip.

I've started by opening all the boxes and moving the old cameras and audio equipment into the dining room. The camera equipment will be sold and the money invested in a better quality digital camera, and the money from the audio equipment will be used to finance the purchase of a multi room audio system. The keeps have been placed in their new homes around the house, so it's also looking more homely in most rooms for very little effort on my part.

I suppose I spent a little under two hours on this before I ran out of energy - too many up-and-down the stairs. I definitely got enough exercise today! This is what the room looks like now.

The instrument in the big brown case is my tenor horn which was in the hall but I've moved it back into the room to get it out of the way. Look, I can see the floor! Tomorrow, or later today if I get a second wind, I want to finish opening the boxes to find the rest of the camera and audio equipment, and the other ornaments I want to keep. 

The cameras and audio equipment are stacked on the dining room table, and once I've found the rest, I'll contact the local company to arrange the sale. The boxes under the monopoly set of the right of the photo all contain donations for the charity shop but I'll wait until I've finished looking through everything before I take them in.

I was dreading sorting this but as to be expected, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I've made a good start and I think I'll get my music room back much sooner than I thought I would. 

Monday, 4 March 2019

Lifestyle Goals | Monthly Review

February has been plagued with illness and a complete lack of energy. As a result there hasn't been a tremendous amount of progress but the changes that have happened are all for the good. 

Health and Fitness. I've purchased the Slimming World pack, have read through the detail numerous times and think I understand it. Now I have to get on with it. I've already made changes to breakfasts, starting the day with a more substantial meal (as in 'breakfast like a king') and my last food delivery was arranged with SW meals in mind. I'm following medical advice and staggering the move to follow the full plan for all my meals, not because I think it would necessarily cause problems but because I know from experience that changes to what and how I eat inevitably leads to an increase in migraines in the early days and I don't feel up to coping with that. A gradual change is the best way for me to go. In the meantime, I'm increasing the amount of vegetables I eat which isn't a significant change as I already eat a lot of veggies, and any bulk cooking for the freezer has to be a healthy SW recipe.

Exercise still needs to happen!

Socialising. I'm removing socialising from my monthly update. I'm happy with the way things are going so will continue on that path and see what happens.

Time Management. Time management still needs some attention, mainly due to procrastination - although I'm getting things done I leave it to the last minute so often fret for days about something that would only take a few minutes to complete. I'm my own worse enemy and would dearly love to turn this around. Any suggestions for how will be very much appreciated.

Decluttering/Organising. This is new to the review. I'm on the last stage of the decluttering and need to find the motivation to keep going. I was hoping that the fact that I now need to use the music room for teaching would be enough to make me get on with it, but that hasn't proved to be the case and I've achieved very little in February. I'm setting all five tasks for March as a way of moving this forward.

My five tasks for February are:
  1. Update Band finance records - Done
  2. Advertise at least 10 more items for sale - Failed!
  3. Buy new towels and bedding - I purchased the bedding but haven't yet found any towels that I like and that are the correct colour
  4. Arrange quotes for garden overhaul - Done, but all were too expensive, so will have to rethink
  5. Clear at least half of the boxes in the music room - Started, but only cleared a few boxes

My five tasks for March are:
  1. Sort out 31 items to send to the charity shop
  2. Photograph 31 items, ready for sale
  3. Find all things I want to keep and find places for them around the house
  4. Package up the remaining things to return to my late partner's family and post the package
  5. Organise the sale of the old audio equipment 

My project for the month is:

Revamp this table; the top is scuffed and scratched, and it needs a good clean and polish. I bought it this morning for £10 (so it's not a lot of money to lose if I mess it up!) and it's just the right size for other end of the sofa in the living room. 

Sunday, 3 March 2019


The wind kept me awake last night. The last time I looked at the clock it was 5:29 am, and I didn't then wake up until 10:30 ish. It's raining on and off today, so another day indoors, not that I'm complaining!

I'm looking through various gardening catalogues to see if there are any bargains for the garden, but as usual I've come up with a huge list and now need to whittle it down and be sensible. 

This afternoon I'll settle myself in front of the TV to watch the final two Cranford episodes, but apart from that I have no other firm plans.

Looking ahead ... tomorrow will be a difficult day. It's the 6th year anniversary of losing Ced, and this year the loss feels like in the early days, extremely raw and painful. I don't have anything planned for the day as I choose to celebrate his life on his birthday and not in memory of his death, so I'll probably just potter about at home. The children will be turning up for their music lessons after school; they were all very enthusiastic at band on Saturday and I've received positive feedback from all of the parents, so I think we are off to a good start.

Saturday, 2 March 2019


Saturday morning is band practice time. It was a different sort of session today as the beginners worked on their first junior band piece and ended their session playing that piece with the combined junior and main bands. It went well and they all went off smiling so that was a relief! The not so good news is that although we have gained one new player, three others have decided to leave, so overall the numbers are down. This always happens; children reach a certain level and then decide to give up. It's disappointing but that's the way it is!

I arrived home to a letter from the hospital confirming that the recent mammogram was clear and I've been discharged from the emergency clinic. It's what I was expecting to hear, but still a massive relief to see it in writing.

As for the rest of the day, I have a few bits and pieces I want to finish off around the house and then have a relaxing night reading and/or watching TV, aiming for an early bedtime again.

Friday, 1 March 2019


I'm typing this post while I'm waiting for the cleaner to arrive. I feel strangely anxious but I'm sure it will be fine.

I have to get on with some things that are needed at band tomorrow. We have a new member so I've been in to the Town Hall to sort out a music folder for him; he can't share with the others because they all play treble clef but he, playing trombone, needs the bass clef music.

Tomorrow we are starting an instrument check to make sure all the children have been maintaining their instruments properly. In preparation I need to print off some more inventory forms and re-organise the instrument register ... can you spot the spelling mistake on the folder spine? It's been like that for about three years and I've only just noticed!

Once that's all done and the cleaner is finished, the day is my own. A friend has phoned asking to meet for coffee so that's a possibility if I finish early enough, but if not I may just go for a walk.