Saturday, 12 June 2021

Saturday

It's the start of the weekend so, as a result of my decision to swap my routine around, it's time to get stuck into household chores and possibly errands. I say possibly the errands because I want to avoid going into town on the busier days, which means the errands may have to wait until Monday. I haven't given too much thought about the best way to divide up the chores between the two days. Actually, I haven't given it any thought at all, so will tackle all the dusting, floors and bathrooms today, and will leave the kitchen, washing, and odds and ends for tomorrow.

It's supposed to be sunny today with temperatures back up after a slightly cooler couple of days so I'll leave my walk until this evening. Once I've completed today's chores it'll just be the usual hobbies to keep me occupied ... piano, Italian practice, reading (out on the patio), and, once the sun moves round and it's too hot to stay outside, back indoors to carry on with the family tree.

Friday, 11 June 2021

Friday

 In the garden ...


The parcel arrived as promised yesterday morning so that's now been wrapped ready to pass on to E next time I see her. I made a start on sorting the music books but my heart wasn't in it so I gave up after an hour or so. I'm putting that down to a bad night's sleep and a complete lack of energy for most of yesterday. 

I had a couple of naps during the morning which was just as well as the one thing I did forget was that L and P might be calling in. They'd actually changed their plans so, instead of a flying visit, arrived early enough to go out for a late lunch. L looked much better than she has for a long time, which was so good to see. They continued their journey around five o'clock so it was a bit too late to think about the art trail and to be honest, I was too tired. They'll be back this way in a couple of weeks so, all being well, we will meet up again then.

The Afghani chicken recipe from the Indian cookery class has been squeezed into next week's meal plan. It looked delicious ... the recipe photo doesn't do it justice! It's a spicy coating so a 'dry' chicken rather than a gravy/sauce, which makes a pleasant change and will make a lovely dish for a picnic. That's the plan anyway.

Today, it's the nutrition focus this afternoon for an hour but the rest of the day is pretty much free to do whatever I fancy, which happens to be reading in the garden and taking some photographs, and then a walk down to the church later in the afternoon.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Thursday

I'm not sure how today will pan out. I'd like to have a look at the art trail in town but we're forecast rain for the middle of the day so, if that's correct, it'll be a day at home instead.

I'm at home this morning anyway as I'm expecting a delivery, promised to arrive between 8 am and 12 noon. Then it's the Indian cookery class and today's recipe is Afghani Chicken with Mooli Kachumber (salad), which I'm not sure about. I'll see whether I fancy it when I watch the demo but the photo on the recipe didn't excite the taste buds!

While I'm waiting for the delivery I'll carry on looking through the sheet music, focusing on the clarinet pieces today. If I've remembered correctly there's not a huge pile of music for this instrument so it shouldn't take too long to sort through it and, if I can't find a decent reed I won't be playing any of it which is what slowed me down last time.

The rest of the day depends on the weather. If it's dry I'll make a start on the Art Trail but if it's raining, then I'll do some more research on the family tree. Tonight I'm off to the theatre ... online, of course. I still have to make the final choice between Barnum starring Michael Crawford, and one of the Matthew Bourne ballets.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Wednesday

Following on from a full day yesterday, today is going to be a bit quieter. 

It's the online nutrition club this morning. I don't know what's up for discussion today as I was out in the garden when M was here and so missed the Friday session which is when the topic for today would have been announced. I'm sure it'll be interesting though.

That's the only thing in the diary. I think I'll need to do a bit of deadheading out in the garden and then will sit in the shade to read until the sun moves round and makes it too hot to stay outside. I really need to invest in a garden parasol! I'll sit outside again during the earlier part of the evening once some of the heat has gone out of the day ... I wilt very quickly when the temperatures are high! Yesterday at The Courts Garden it registered at 21⁰C which I wasn't really prepared for, although thankfully I had remembered to take a bottle of water with me even if I didn't have any sunscreen ... my arms are sore today where I've caught the sun.

I'm glad I went back to the garden centre to buy some more of the colourful pots as they had nearly sold out of them. I bought two gold ones and two smaller blue ones so probably have enough now. I did ask if they'd be getting any more in but their response was rather vague so I searched online and know they are available from other suppliers if I change my mind and want to get more, although surprisingly the garden centre's price turned out to be cheaper than any of the online sources so it seems they are not expensive on everything!

Late afternoon or early evening I'm hoping to go for a walk along the canal or around the park ... somewhere with a reasonably level pathway as my knee is painful today. I'm planning to get out of the house every day this week to take advantage of the sunshine.

Then home for watering duties followed by some time vegging out in front of the TV. It's The Great British Sewing Bee at 9 pm and once that's finished I'll watch the Great British Photography Challenge on catch-up as I missed it on Monday evening. 

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

SPSH - A Selection of Photos from The Courts Garden

I've had a lovely couple of hours wandering around The Courts Garden and have collected a goodly selection of photos for the SPSH and for my monthly photo challenge ... all in all, a successful trip. 

No 2: Something To Represent Home But Not The Building - a heart shaped leaf to represent that 'home is where my heart is'



No 3: Head In The Clouds; shapes or interesting patterns - this is my reserve shot in case I can't find a more interesting one ... the letter 'W' in the cloud



No 7: What's In Bloom - I think this is my favourite prompt this year!



No 11: The Shape of Round/Circular - flower pots, the centre of daisies, round bush balls, a bug hotel and an iron ball topping a gate post



No 17: an exit - guarded by a weather-beaten lion!

Tuesday

In the garden ... poppy, clematis, bacopa secrets, rambling rose, and petunias. These are possibilities for the SPSH No 7 - What's In Bloom, although Blogger has done something to the colours and exposure so I will need to correct that.


I met L for lunch yesterday. It was good to see her, though a bit subdued as the person she was a carer for had died at the weekend and she was understandably upset. On the other hand I spoke to J later on and she is beside herself with excitement as she is celebrating the arrival of her first grandchild. 

The details for the choir in person outdoor workshop have been published and the decision has been made for me - the date clashes with an online memorial event I'm going to, so I won't be able to attend the choir event. To be honest, I am relieved more than disappointed as some of the arrangements were rather too lax for my liking considering the current situation so this saves me dithering about what to do!

Today I have a ticket for my first National Trust visit this year. This afternoon I'm off to The Courts Garden which is very close to home, about ten minutes drive to the next village. It's one of my favourite places and it's been too long since I last visited.

Before that I want to go to town to buy a gift for J's new grandbaby, pick up some flowers for L, and I'll take the opportunity to fill the petrol tank while I'm there. Next, a return visit to the garden centre to get some more pots but I think I'll put off buying the rest of the annuals until next week. Then a quick dash round the Tesco Express which is next door to the garden centre to buy the fruit and salad stuff, and I'll be set up for the week. 

Monday, 7 June 2021

This Week ...

I have a full week to look forward to which feels so good, all fun activities and none of the dreaded housework until the weekend. 

Social: it's choir practice tonight as usual and I'll be chatting with J and with L at some stage. I'm also hoping to see P & L who are travelling to Oxford and will call in on the way, but it's dependent on how busy the roads are and them making good time. 


Online Classes and Talks

Today: Photography, History in Music

Wednesday: Nutrition Club

Thursday: Indian Cooking 

Friday: Journaling, Nutrition Focus  


Health and Fitness:

I'm hoping to complete 30 minutes of walking every day, still in 10 minutes slots, and one longer walk possibly around one of the local country parks. 


Home and Garden

Home: As last week, I did the bulk of the housework over the weekend which leaves the week free to do what I want. So far, this arrangement is working well as I still feel more comfortable to be out and about if I am able to avoid times when the public spaces will be busier. 

Garden: I'm planning another garden centre haul on Tuesday and that'll be it for now. I've ordered some naturalizing crocus bulbs for the front garden but they won't arrive until September and I still need to choose some others, probably cyclamen, nerines and snowdrops. This week I have to decide on which water butt I want and place the order. I'm thinking of getting this one or maybe two of this one. I also need to finish sorting out all the gardening things in the garage.

  

Food: I'm out of salad stuff and getting low on fruit so I will need to go shopping, probably on Tuesday on my way home from the garden centre. It's definitely salad weather at the moment so there won't be much cooking this week.


End of Lockdown Adventures

  • meeting a friend for coffee this week, venue still to be decided
  • two trips to National Trust properties by the end of June - planning to visit either The Courts Garden, Lacock Abbey or Stourhead this week
  • attempt some bird photography


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice 

Piano: 30 minutes daily practice

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • enjoying a busy week with a growing feeling that life is moving to the new normal
  • playing through lots of old favourites while attempting to declutter the sheet music, and 
  • remembering how much I enjoy playing the flute
  • appreciating lots of progress in the garden, and
  • making the most of those trips to the garden centre!
  • getting out for a drive around and taking some photos
  • making arrangements to meet with friends during the next two weeks meaning I have things in the diary to look forward to
  • sitting out in the garden on sunny days
  • reading in the bath without dropping the book in the water!
  • making progress on the family tree

I am grateful ...
  • for all that I have in my life - I know I am more fortunate than many people are
  • for happy memories to sustain me through the, thankfully now much less frequent, down times
  • for a good result following the recent blood test

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise (30 minutes minimum every day): achieved 
  • weight: 1 lb gain 😥

End of Lockdown Adventures
  • In the next 7 days: taking photos for the SPSH and my monthly photo challenge - Achieved

  • In the next month (up to the end of June)two trips to National Trust properties by the end of June - No progress yet

  • In the next 12 monthsattempt some bird photography. No progress on this one yet.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

A Garden Update

M was here for five hours yesterday and we got loads done ... I say 'we' because I helped out and just generally got in the way!

The bulbs have been lifted from the terracotta pots and the new plants have taken their place. Two of the three lavenders growing in the front garden have now been moved to the back garden - they're old plants and getting quite woody but for this year those two are in pots in the back garden. The third is in the green bin! 

There has been lots of weeding and general tidying up, but best of all, we managed to move the bulk bag of topsoil into the garage and drag the bulk bag of gravel round to the front where it's been dumped on the garden for now. The front still needs a bit of a tidy up but it looks fine for now.

I'm really pleased with how it's looking, bearing in mind that the plants still have a lot of growing, flowering and looking pretty to do. There are a couple of places where it's a case of the right plant in the wrong place so I think there will be a bit of a swap around when they've finished flowering.


The photo above was taken from about half way down the garden, standing with my back to the house. There are still a lot of alliums to flower and then gladioli will show their heads next month. The cosmos, lavender, nemesia, lobelia and bacopa are in the pots on the right of the photo and will be brightening up that part of the garden soon. The pot on the left by the garage wall is filled with fuchsias - it arrived as a hanging basket but M replanted it for me - and is a belated Christmas present from friends. 

The photo below shows the area behind the garage. The two new roses have been planted against the fence and will be trained on wires, the pink one is on the left and the red one on the right but they will meet in the middle and grow together. The shrubs in that bed, from left to right, are hydrangea fire and ice, pieris katsura, and an autumn flowering camellia which I've forgotten the name of! There's some ground cover in already - the sedums, and three different periwinkles - but it'll need some more eventually, and there are nerine bulbs planted and ready to flower in the autumn (but I'm not sure if they will flower in their first year). I still have to get the new huge water butt which will go next to the existing one.


The photo above shows the annuals and pretty things on the left, the veggies against the back wall of the house and the foliage plants which prefer the shadier side of the patio are on the right. There's still a bit of moving round to do but we're getting there!

The photo below shows the view I have of the pots from the bench behind the garage, which is where I usually sit. The two wall mounted planters have been planted with red nasturtiums and just below them you can just see the apple and cherry patio trees, slightly hidden by the other lavender.  


Moving on to the front garden, it's looking very empty now but I'm okay with that. All that's left is the buddleia wisteria lane, and a small rhododendron which, for some unknown reason, is only producing flowers on one side. We discussed the planting for this area and have decided on naturalizing bulbs, planting in drifts of colour. The buddleia will stay but the rhododendron may be donated to the Mencap garden once it's finished flowering. I will be ordering some crocus, muscari and nerines, concentrating on the part along the front of the house to start with. 


We discussed what else is needed for summer colour so another garden centre visit is imminent. I want to buy some more of the red pots while they are still available and while I'm there will also get some more annuals to go on top of the pots that are already planted up with spring bulbs, so probably some more lobelia if they have any. 

So the plans are that in her next visit M will plant up any annuals I buy and continue with the weeding, and the following visit will make a start on the patio itself. It needs to be power washed to start with and then the grouting replaced in places. I have to order the new water butt and get that installed, and also ask my nephew for help with running a hose round from the tap on the front wall of the house.

Friday, 4 June 2021

Friday


I've started! Here's my first photo for the SPSH, Alt B: a local landmark - Westbury White Horse, which can be seen for miles. It wasn't the best day for photographing landscapes yesterday so I will try this one again to get the blue sky the photo needs!

On the way home I took some 'D' photos and then stopped to photograph the graffiti or, to give it a more accurate description, the street art. He's still  working on it, so it's another one to return to for the finished photo. It seems that this is part of a Nature Art trail around town where local artists will be creating window displays in some of the (many) empty shops from tomorrow, and 40 local businesses will have nature themed displays throughout the summer months. It should be worth a look, maybe something for a Sunday morning.

M will be here soon and will spend the morning working her magic on the garden. There's all the new plants to be dealt with, some weeding, lifting some of the spring bulbs, and probably quite a lot of chatting! I didn't make any progress on moving the gravel or topsoil yesterday so that still has to be done; she'll be using some of the topsoil today so it may be that what she removes actually lightens the bulk bag enough for the two of us to be able to move it together, which'll save having to bag it up.

The Nutrition Focus this afternoon is about how nutrition can aid and improve sleep, so I'm keen to learn about that. My sleep pattern is all over the place and I have too many nights when my sleep is so poor that my energy levels are non-existent the next day.

I did make a start on sorting through the music books last night. It's going to take ages, not because of the quantity but because I kept getting distracted and playing bits and pieces! All the beginners tutor books are already in the 'to go' pile and I will ask around before I take them over to the Oxfam collection point. One of the boys who lives in the Close is learning a brass instrument so he may be interested, and I'm thinking of passing my spare instruments on to Misses C and H so if they want them, they will also need the tutor books to get them started. At least this part of the decluttering is going to be fun if I'm playing through pieces to help me make my decision!

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Thursday

I went to the garden centre again, unsupervised, and this is the result. I don't now how it happened - one minute I had an empty trolley and the next time I looked it was like this ...


... four new pots, extra cosmos (because you can never have too much cosmos!), lobelia, nemesia, and bacopa. I was looking for something for summer colour so this wasn't an entirely unplanned purchase but I just wasn't expecting to buy it today. On the other hand, I didn't get the ericaceous compost and garden canes I went in for so a return visit is on the cards ...

Before I hit the garden centre I went to Costa Coffee to collect my magic bag. I've been using the Too Good To Go app for some time but there hasn't been much happening locally until recently. This is the first time I've bought one of the bags, paying £3 for a bag of produce worth £10 that is at it's sell by date but obviously still fine to eat. T popped in on her way to work and we shared an early lunch in the garden so I just have the toastie left.


I don't know that I'd go for one of these regularly as the contents, while good value, aren't really what I want to be eating while I'm trying to lose weight. It was nice for a treat though. The other options locally are Morrisons, M&S, and a village shop, all of which include fruit and vegetables in their bags, and a local bakery which includes bread - I'll try one of those next.

I just have time to wash up and then it's the Indian Cookery class. I think it's lamb burgers on today's menu, so not something that immediately conjures up thoughts of India. Then I'm off out with my camera to take a few photos, some for SPSH and some for my monthly challenge. On the way home from the garden centre I saw an amazing graffiti being painted on the barrier that's blocking off a derelict factory. We don't often get graffiti of that quality in town so I want to photograph it while I can.

I'll need to get home reasonably early as the egg delivery is due later on, and then will spend a bit more time out in the garden. M is due tomorrow so I have to decide what I want her to do, and there's also the gravel and topsoil to be dealt with so I can make a start on that.