Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Wednesday

I've been notified that a parcel will be delivered between 7am and 7pm so it's another day at home. This one should be blueberry bushes, a Christmas gift from a dear friend, and that leaves only one more parcel to come this week which will be the replacement seals for the Kilner jars.

I re-inked the printer yesterday and it took ages! Refilling the ink tanks is a doddle but recharging the print heads was the time consuming bit and I wanted to cry from frustration at one stage! I also tidied one of the cupboards in the room and sorted out some more stuff that I no longer have a use for so that will either go to Misses C and H or to the charity shop. 

I did a couple of loads of washing yesterday and will do the rest today ... no ironing needed with this lot, thankfully. I'll also sort through and tidy the other two cupboards in the playroom and then I'll just need to wipe down the paintwork, hoover the carpet, and the first room will be finished.

It's the nutrition club this morning where the chat will be about sugar. I gave up adding sugar to drinks a few years ago but I'll be interested to see what else I can do to eliminate added sugars in my diet.

Apart from that it'll be watering the garden, piano practice and Italian practice, and then whatever I fancy doing ... should be another fun day!

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Tuesday

I thought yesterday was going to be a bit of a disaster after a bad start but it turned out to be just the opposite. The disaster part was walking into a door (don't ask!) and causing a nosebleed which thankfully I was able to stop very quickly, only to realise that I had trailed blood through the house so there were bloodstains on the living room, stairs, and landing carpets. It obviously couldn't be left so I abandoned the plan to start spring cleaning in the playroom and spot cleaned the carpets instead, fortunately an easier task than it sounds as there is a scotchguard type protector on all the carpets. This worked as it should have done and the stains didn't soak into the fibres so could be wiped away. I still had to wash each patch but the end result looks fine and there's no sign of the bloodstains.

That all took longer than I'd planned for the daily housework slot and I thought at one stage I wouldn't be finished before the diabetes prevention course started so I contacted them and asked to join a different group for this week. As it turned out I finished in plenty of time so could have joined the original group but decided against it and settled down with a coffee to check my emails. This turned out to be a good move as there was one from Goldster, the organisation behind the online classes I've been attending each week, notifying this week's classes and advising of some new ones ... I've signed up for three of the new ones just to see what they are like: Photography (Monday), Happiness (Monday), and Life Coach (Thursday). There was also a French course which I considered doing as a refresher but decided against it as I thought it better to wait until I am more proficient with the Italian language.

The photography one was advertised as being for beginners so I wasn't sure that it was the right course for me but I joined the session anyway as I was intrigued to see how a practical subject like photography would be taught in a Zoom class. It wasn't at all what I was expecting and the instructor, Rhodri, adopted a completely different approach which is enlightening for any ability level. He concentrated on how to develop your 'eye', getting us to make a viewfinder from card (basically a 30cms x 90cms oblong cut from the centre of a piece of card) and looking at an object through the hole, watching to see how the 'picture' changed as you moved your position and how the light changed on the subject. He then used a powerpoint presentation of some of his own photos and talked us through the changes in each photo as he'd altered his position. This may all sound a bit boring but it sparked my enthusiasm and I will join in with future sessions. He suggested some practice for the week which is to repeat the same exercise and observe the changes, so I will have a go at that.

I enrolled for the Happiness session (a positive psychology class) as well but only caught the first ten minutes because G phoned and asked if she could come round straight away. However, in that short time I heard enough to believe that this class will go a long way towards helping me to develop better techniques in dealing with the depression, so I will definitely try again next week.  

G arrived and work her magic ... I feel human again! I hadn't realised just how much my unruly hair was getting me down but I now feel tons brighter and have gained some energy from somewhere!

The first couple of parcels arrived - the printer inks and some prescription meds - so I can sort out the printer today. My printer has bulk ink tanks so refilling the tanks is a bit more involved than just changing over ink cartridges and it's not my favourite job; I'll be glad when it's done and that's the first job for today, no procrastinating! Once that's finished I'll carry on with spring cleaning the rest of the room. 

There's nothing else in the diary so I'd like to attempt the photography practice, although I intend to actually take some photos rather than just observe. In the class the first object we observed was a pair of scissors so I will try the same and then look for something outdoors to attempt the same exercise on a larger scale. 

Monday, 12 April 2021

This Week ...

The highlight of this week happens today ... I'm having my hair cut! 

Social: it's choir practice tonight; we made a start on the summer term songs last week - a Disney Medley, The Way You Look Tonight and All Of Me, and the new one for this week is Homeward Bound.

I'm also hoping to meet with J for a walk but it depends on her work commitments. We'll definitely speak on the phone but it'll be lovely to take advantage of the warmer days the forecast promises and be able to meet in person.


Online Classes and Talks

Today: the diabetes prevention session

Wednesday: the nutrition club, where I think the discussion will be about sugar

Thursday: Indian Cooking 

Friday: the nutrition focus class which is all about digestion


Exercise:

Walking: I'm hoping to get out for a couple of early evening walks this week but the majority of the walking will be in the garden.


Home and Garden

Home: I'm stuck at home on most days as I'm expecting quite a few deliveries so the spring cleaning will continue, focusing on the playroom this week. It doesn't need too much doing in there, just some sorting  & tidying of cupboards, check the computer equipment & re-ink the printer, plus a thorough clean, so its shouldn't take the entire week. 

Garden: Following M's visit, there's not too much for me to do, just to sweep the patio and obviously the watering duties. I need to buy some more ericaceous compost ready for her next visit but that won't be until next week so I have plenty of time. 


Food This will be a week of interesting meals as I'm using up all the odds and ends in the fridge and the freezer  - I'm expecting some slightly unusual combinations!

I also want to print out another selection of new-to-me recipes and make a start on the meal plan and shopping lists for May.


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: I'm still listening to 'The Mill on the Floss' by George Elliot

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice 

Piano: I need to find another piece to start learning. 

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with friends
  • a gift of curry paste from friend T which made six portions of curry 
  • a trip to the garden centre with Joy
  • M's first visit to discuss my revised plans and to make a start on the garden tasks
  • re-watching the Harry Potter films, shown on TV every night this week
  • a couple of canal walks
  • hearing from G, my hairdresser, offering an appointment for tomorrow
  • continuing to enjoy the nutrition and Indian cookery online sessions, and hearing that an online NLP happiness hub is starting tomorrow
  • making a (very slow) start on the spring cleaning
  • saving over £100 on my car insurance

I am grateful ...
  • for central heating - we've had a few more very chilly days!
  • for comparison sites, which enabled me to save money on my insurance
  • for the support that always seems to be there whenever I am in need of it

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise (30 minutes minimum every day): achieved 6 days out of 7
  • weight: no change again -I think this may be to do with reducing the amount of exercise so I need to have another look at my calorie intake

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Garden Update 10

M was here for a couple of hours yesterday and in that time dealt with most of the new plants, and made a start on the weeding and the general tidying up. It looks much better already. The tomatoes, sweet peas, and Angel's Fishing Rods won't be planted out yet so they are being pampered indoors for now.

One aspect of the garden I don't think I've mentioned before is that there is selection of plants bought primarily for their foliage. Most of these are in pots and, although they may produce flowers, it's the foliage that earns them a space in the garden.

The photo below shows a couple of the new plants with dianthus memories at the back and spirea magic carpet in the front, making a colourful statement. It does have bright pink flowers, which are pretty, but it's the leaves I love.


Below, at the front is a zeblid leucothoe which isn't looking its best at present. It's in the middle of transitioning from the winter deep burgundy leaf colour to the summer leaf colour of green/yellow. I love the winter colour best but the summery shades do provide a good background for some of the showier annuals (which I still have to buy!).


In the photo above you can see a dark leafed plant in the pot on the left at the back. This is one of the new ones, Coprosma City Knights, and the photo below shows a close up of the leaves. I'm hoping it retains all the different colours throughout the year.


The hebe in the photo below has earned a reprieve. It's looked very washed out until a couple of weeks ago but has picked itself up and is finally displaying the strong pink colour I was expecting. Please ignore the grass growing through the fence; M didn't get as far as this bed in the time available, but it's days are numbered!


One bit of good news is that M is going to sort out the grouting on the patio. I asked her if she could recommend anyone and it turns out that it's a service she offers. She wants to wait for the better weather which is fine by me, and it's one less thing to worry about. We've already decided that we'll leave a few spots where the grouting is missing to plant with low growing thyme and chamomile to soften the edges. 

Friday, 9 April 2021

Friday

Just a quick post as I've overslept and there's a few things I want to do in the garden before M arrives.

M will be here in about an hour so the first thing is to place the new purchases where I'd like them to be planted. Then a quick trip to Wickes to buy some heavy duty black bags/sacks to set aside some of the gravel for the front garden - I only made this decision last night which is why it's been left to the last minute! 

The other thing for today is after lunch - the online Nutrition Focus which if I've remembered correctly is all about the minerals your body needs.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Let Loose in a Garden Centre ...

 ... with Joy, but we were both very restrained and didn't buy too much. Here's today's haul ...


Starting on the left, the two colourful plants are Spirea Magic Carpet and behind them you can just see the tops of two pots of Dianthus Memories, which will produce white flowers. The tallest plant to the right of them is an autumn flowering Camelia Sasanqua which will have pink flowers and just in front of that in the grey pot is a Coprosma City Knights which I've never heard of before but fell in love with the colours of the leaves. The smaller plants in the front are two patio bush tomato plants, two pots of sweet peas and behind them are 2 pots of Lupins Gallery Yellow.

The plant pots and troughs are for the tomatoes and, later on, for some dwarf green bean plants which Joy has kindly offered to let me have. They'll also be used for some of the summer annuals. 

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Wednesday

Well I made a start on the spring cleaning yesterday and it'll be more of the same today; just a couple of hours effort and I should be able to finish cleaning the rest of the blinds and the remainder of the upstairs windows. I didn't achieve as much as I wanted to yesterday ... procrastination was the order of the day and I just couldn't get going so I have to be stricter with myself today and start as soon as I've had breakfast and my medication has kicked in. My reward for two hours of spring cleaning will be a walk over to the marina.

My friend T, knowing I like curry, gifted me an opened jar of tikka paste. She tried it for the first time on Sunday but said it was too spicy for her and she thought maybe I'd like it rather than her throwing the rest away - she bought a huge jar! I defrosted some chicken overnight and will use up the tikka paste today to make several portions of chicken tikka, one for tonight's meal and the rest for the freezer. This impacts on my meal plan for the month as the chicken was intended for other meals but I'm sticking with my 'no food shopping in April' goal and will amend the meal plan accordingly ... luckily I do really love curries, so this isn't a hardship in any way!


Three photos from yesterday - the daffodils and summer snowflakes are still looking good, and the magnolia buds are starting to open. 

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Tuesday

I had some good news yesterday ... a text from G, my hairdresser, offering an appointment for next Monday. I can't wait! My last haircut was at the end of November (the January one had to be cancelled when the country went into lockdown) so my hair is looking truly awful. I will feel much more human after 2pm on the 12th!

I am making a start on the spring cleaning today. I was planning to start on the upstairs rooms but have changed my mind, because I can, and will clean all the Venetian blinds and insides of windows throughout the house first. I detest the job of cleaning the blinds so it's best to tackle them while the enthusiasm levels are still high!


In the garden, the rest of the tulips are opening. The pink one in the top photo is the chosen colour but the one in the second photo is supposed to be lilac, not striped ... I'm not having much luck with actually producing the colour stated on the packaging, but it does look pretty. It was very windy when I took the photos, hence the blurry focus.

Monday, 5 April 2021

This Week

The schools are still on their Easter breaks so I am planning to spend most of the week at home. I expect most of the public places will be busier than I'd like so, as there is no real need to go out (with one exception) I won't!

Social: choir practice resumes tonight; in normal times we wouldn't meet on a Bank Holiday but there is definitely one scheduled for today so, with nothing else arranged, I will go.


Online Classes and Talks

Wednesday: the nutrition club, where I think the discussion will continue on improving our relationship with food 

Thursday: Indian Cooking 

Friday: the nutrition focus class which is all about minerals in a healthy diet 


Exercise:

Walking: following on from a chat with my doctor I am reducing the number of steps I complete every day, aiming for 30 minutes rather than focusing on the total number of steps. This is all to do with my knee, which seems to be permanently swollen and rather painful.


Home and Garden

Home: I'm still waiting to hear back from the auction house so that's still to be sorted. I seem to be experiencing a very strange urge (for me), which is to clean the house from top to bottom. I'm going with the flow so, as I'm planning to stay at home, this week seems to be the ideal time to get that feeling out of my system.

Garden: I mentioned one exception to staying at home and that's a trip to the local garden centre with Joy on Thursday morning. M, the gardener, will be here on Friday so I want to buy a selection of perennials and annuals, mostly for the pots but a couple to fill spaces in a flower bed. I am excited about this ... Joy is supposed to keep me in check but she's as bad as me really only with much more horticultural knowledge, so I expect to be indulging in some serious retail therapy!


Food:  I have plenty of supplies so have no need to buy anything else or do any more bulk cooking until the end of the month. I have fresh fruit and veg for this week then will change to frozen for the remainder of the month - I can always restock at the farm shop if that arrangement doesn't work out.

I gave in and ordered a takeaway delivery yesterday, so I will have to be strict about the rest of this week's meals if I want to lose any weight when I weigh in Saturday!


and finally, Having Fun:

Reading: currently reading 'Where The Crawdads Sing' by Delia Owen, and listening to 'The Mill on the Floss' by George Elliot on BBC Sounds as my choice for the Diversify Your Reading Challenge - the April genre is Classics.

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice 

Piano: I'm still working on Pachelbel's Canon in D Major!