Thursday, 23 September 2021

Thursday

In the garden ...


 ... the cosmos has been disappointing this year but they are still flowering, just not as prolific as in previous years. They're still on the list for next year though.

I had a lovely time yesterday. Both online classes were interesting and the piano lesson was great fun. I don't think I played as well as in the previous lessons but enough to show some progress. I also had a long chat with neighbour C and, after speaking to N and T to explain that I was feeling anxious about joining a big group of people, they called round for a kerbside chat on their way home instead.

The style class continued with body shape but looking at the proportions of your body (short, tall, long waisted, etc.) and how to achieve balance when putting an outfit together. It's complicated (!) so I'm not going to try to explain it here but this article covers what we discussed today.

Best of all was managing to book a long overdue consultation with my doctor; at the start I was told there were absolutely no appointments available but when I pointed out that my blood tests were now over two months late and couldn't be arranged without speaking to the doctor, I was given a telephone consultation with my own GP at 9 am this morning! I'm hoping he will book the bloods appointment while I'm on the phone to him.

It's the Indian cookery class today and the recipe is Dal Makhani, which I'm not familiar with so I'm looking forward to that. This class is the only thing in the diary so, as it's supposed to be a rain free day, I'll be going out for a walk as soon as I've spoken to my doctor and hopefully I'll be able to spend some time with Baby R later this afternoon. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Wednesday

There was a slight change of plans yesterday which meant that I met with L at the local garden centre instead of at the farm café. I'm pleased to report that, despite all of the temptation everywhere I looked, I didn't buy any more plants! I did buy this though ... 


... a savoury tea of cheese scone, cheese and chutney (I left the butter), a mug of coffee, and if you look carefully you may see the tip of a huge slice of lemon and blueberry drizzle cake to finish it all off. L had a cream tea with fruit scone, jam, clotted cream and a pot of tea. It was delicious and I have no regrets about all those extra calories!

I have quite a busy day today with the nutrition club at 10am, piano lesson at 12.15am, and the style class at 2pm. I'm expecting delivery of a parcel some time today, and as a priority I need to arrange an appointment with my GP as I still haven't had my last lot of routine blood tests. I didn't make any progress on finding someone to value the two collections so will keep looking today if I have time, but will also contact the place in Bath who I know do valuations to make an appointment. 

If the parcel delivery arrives early enough I'm hoping to meet up with T & N, neighbours at my previous home who've now moved away. They're only in town until about 4 pm and have plans to meet up with a lot of people (which I'm a bit anxious about) but I do hope it all works out and I get to see them. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Tuesday and a Garden Update

Let's do the garden update first. Actually it's more a 'thinking out loud' post to do with the plans for next year. Once the new fence is in place (still waiting on price and date) the priority will be to deal with any damage to the existing planting and move other plants around where necessary. It all depends on when the fencing work is done, but at the latest this planting/moving will be done in early spring. Then the focus for the year is switching to the pots, which take on a big role in my ideas for the garden.

The main focus will be on this area. I rarely show it in photos as it hasn't had the attention it needs, but 2022 is its time to shine! 


This area gets the sun for a while mid morning and then again from mid afternoon, and all of the plants destined for this space will need to be grown in pots. We've discussed the need to add some height so I'm looking for ideas to show M next time she's here. I've already decided against the planters that have attached trellis as I think that will make this part of the garden seem smaller and I don't really want to have anything that creates a solid or near solid barrier either. I'm thinking arches, either this idea (from edge of patio, over the path to fix on the garage wall) which is winning at the moment, or this idea (along the edge of the patio). I like the idea of the wall arch as that will add height and create an illusion of depth as well, plus if positioned correctly, will block the view of the garage door from the house. The space will probably only accommodate two, maybe three, of the arches and my idea is to grow climbers there. Can any of you more experienced gardeners see any obvious problems with this idea please? 

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I didn't see Joy yesterday morning as she thinks she may be coming down with a cold and I don't want to risk passing anything on to Baby R, so that's been rescheduled to next week. My Monday social event was to see C and H instead, just a flying visit, but it was lovely to see them. On the way home I stopped off to take some photos - possibilities for the SPSH. 

I don't usually bother with the news but caught the local news yesterday and was shocked to read that one of the village schools I used to teach in has been devastated by fire. Luckily it was outside of school hours and there were no casualties but they have lost classrooms and resources so arrangements have to be made for ongoing schooling while the clear up and rebuild are organised.  

The style class continued with body shape, discussing the importance of good quality and well fitting underwear/foundation garments, and also looked at tricks to give the illusion of altering your body shape through the use of colour, neckline, vertical/horizontal lines, etc. It's too complicated to detail here and anyway it depends on what it is you are trying to achieve but, once you have established what your body shape is, you can find plenty of advice online about what does and doesn't suit your particular shape.  

Today I'm meeting L for a late lunch and a catch up. I haven't seen her in person for ages so am really looking forward to this. I have a couple of parcels to post off today which I'll do while I'm out for my walk and when I get back from lunch I want to carry on investigating the best way to sell a couple of collections. I think one of the stores in Bath offers a valuation service but I want to see what other options are available to me before I make a decision.

Monday, 20 September 2021

Monday

 In the garden ...


... there's still a good variety of plants in flower but some of the annuals are nearing the end. The dwarf sunflower plants, while starting to look quite tatty, are still producing lots of bright yellow loveliness, while the marguerites continue to flower prolifically ... both have made the list for next years annuals. The fuchsias continue to delight with their bright colours and are loved by the bees; I was trying to photograph the bees but missed completely in the first fuchsia photo and only captured the ends of the wings in the second one!

It was a quiet weekend and I'm aiming for a reasonably relaxed week. We're promised sunny days all week so, at the time of writing this, I am hoping to be out every day to meet up with either family or friends. I already have a couple of things arranged - I'm going round to Joy's home this morning and will be meeting L for a late lunch tomorrow in Winsley. I have texted to arrange an after school visit to see C & H to meet their new kittens, and a visit to see Baby R, but am waiting to hear back on those. 

We're rapidly approaching the end of September which means that I need to get on and find the rest of my photos for the SPSH and my monthly photo challenge. I'm thinking of driving to different locations for my daily walks to see if I can finish off both of the photo lists this week.

I downloaded a new book to my Kindle yesterday - 'Annie Stanley, All At Sea' by Sue Teddern. I don't usually pay too much for books but this one is currently only available in hardback at a price I wasn't prepared to pay so although the Kindle version wasn't much better it's a similar price to what I'd pay for paperbacks, so I treated myself. This book is the one to be discussed by the online book group on October 1st, so I have plenty of time to read it. The story appeals to me anyway, but the thing that pushed me into deciding to join this particular class is that on October 22nd there is also a 'meet the author' session with Sue Teddern, and I find those interesting. 

It's the style class this afternoon but it'll be finished early enough to fit in a bit of shopping before the schools finish for the day and the shops get busy. Lidl is the closest supermarket so I can pop in quickly to pick up some bread, fruit, and veg. I've decided it's time to do some bulk cooking for the freezer ... soup weather is definitely here!

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • delighted that the new spring bulbs have arrived, ready for M's next visit
  • a surprise purchase of three new perennials for growing in pots
  • meeting J for coffee ... and buying some cyclamen plants!
  • time spent enjoying the garden
  • feeling that I'm making progress on the piano
  • completing one stage of the decluttering by sorting out the remainder of the items to be donated, and
  • agreeing sales on some more items 
  • adding some dates to the diary ... always good to have something to look forward to
  • answering some of the questions on Only Connect!
  • seeing the photos from my niece's recent wedding
  • continuing to make progress on the family tree
  • seeing the Red Arrows fly overhead (last time this year, apparently) 


I am grateful ...
  • for M's hard work in the garden
  • for friends who support me in my dreams for the future and chip in with great ideas
  • that online clubs and entertainment opportunities are continuing post lockdown


Lifestyle changes
  • exercise: 
    • 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved 
    • 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved 
  • weight: no change

Saturday, 18 September 2021

Saturday

M was here yesterday and we had quite a long chat about next year's planting. I won't reveal the plans in any detail now, except to say that we both agreed that there isn't room in any of the flower beds for new plants, except the ones that have already been agreed on but can't be ordered until next year. There is some scope for perennials in pots but we both thought it would be better to wait until next year for those. So, M planted up the cyclamen, scared the weeds into submission and went on her way. Twenty minutes later I started getting texts from her ... she'd called in at a garden centre on her way home ... and about half an hour later she was back in my garden to plant up my newly purchased perennials. She is such a bad influence on me!

Echinacea Southern Belle
Penstemon Garnet
Penstemon Plum Jerkum

Usually I'm the one to impulse buy plants but these are beautiful and are perfect for what we'd been discussing, so I'm happy with my choices, achieved via our WhatsApp video call. M was a little anxious that she may have pushed me into buying earlier than I wanted to but I assured her that I was perfectly happy to have new plants, especially knowing that she couldn't tell me off for buying them! 

As a result of the second unplanned visit by M I missed most of the nutrition focus on brain health but it will be repeated at some stage so I'll have an opportunity to catch up.

It turned out to be a lovely day and was warm enough to sit out in the garden, so I fought the strange urge I had to do some housework and spent the rest of the afternoon outside in the sunshine. I read for a while, but mostly just sat and enjoyed being outside.  

Today I'm looking forward to a quiet day and won't be venturing too far from home ... just over to the marina and back for my morning walk. There's nothing I want to watch on TV but I may rent a film for this evening's viewing and hopefully, if the promised rain holds off, I can spend the afternoon in the garden again.

Friday, 17 September 2021

Friday

 In the garden ...

... the roses are taking the limelight!

M will be here this morning, mostly weeding and general tidying but the cyclamen have to be planted and there are a couple of pots of annuals to be emptied as well.

This afternoon it's the nutrition focus class, all about brain health today which I'm sure will be interesting but, from the brief chat about it last time, will not be covering the one topic that affects me which is migraines (now classed as a brain disorder). I'll still take part in the class because I continue to be fascinated by just how much you can heal your body through nutrition alone.

And that's all there is in the diary for today. I'm now used to doing my daily Italian practice right after breakfast and that works well for me, but I haven't yet settled on the best time for the piano practice. The practice needs to become a habit so, as with the Italian, I'm tacking it on to an existing daily activity and am currently trialling early evening right after my evening meal to see how that goes. This isn't anything to do with a need to be regimented in the timing of these activities but is all about creating habits by hanging the completion of whatever activity needs to become a habit onto an existing habit, and mealtimes fit the bill for the existing habits!

Thursday, 16 September 2021

Thursday

 In the garden ...


... cyclamen, destined for the central flower bed. I met J at a garden centre yesterday and gave into temptation!

Wednesday's new schedule makes much better use of my time - the nutrition club starts at 10am, piano follows on at 11:15am, then a break for lunch, and the style class at 2pm, which leaves me free from 3pm onwards. The gap for lunch is just about long enough if I want to meet L or to pop to the shops, and any time after 3pm works well to meet with J so a pleasant way to round off the afternoon.

The nutrition club was to do with meal planning. Claudia produced a week long vegan meal plan with shopping list and recipes with the aim of showing people how you can still eat healthily without cooking every day. It was interesting and I will try some of the recipes but I'm quite happy to cook fresh every day if I need to. I tend to bulk cook more in the colder months and cook from scratch every day during the warmer months.

My piano lesson was good fun. I surprised myself by playing much better than I had in practice so have decided that knowing someone is listening and critiquing my playing is actually focusing my mind in a good way! I'm carrying on with the two longer pieces this week and have free choice on a third, shorter piece. 

The style class was about body shape. There is plenty of information on the internet but this link, provided by Patio Postcards, is a good starting point - Body Shape Calculator. The challenge for this week is to determine your body shape and then look at yourself in a mirror and decide which parts of your body you want to draw attention to and which parts of your body you want to draw attention away from. 

I met J for coffee and a quick catch up but won't see her now for a couple of weeks as she's working next week and then will isolate the following week before we meet in person again. It was so good to see her though, and hopefully we can manage a longer chat next time.

It's the Indian cookery this afternoon ... Lamb Kofta Biryani this week, which I'll definitely be making for my Saturday night treat. I'd like to fit in some shopping this morning as I need a few bits and pieces from Home Bargains or B&M, and I need to get to the bank for the cash for M tomorrow. Apart from that it'll be time spent on the laptop places as many adverts as I can. 

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My September decluttering challenge:

  • 1st = 2 stained storage boxes (to be recycled)
  • 2nd = a band fleece (only worn once so returning it to the band as I will never wear it again) 
  • 3rd = 3 sci-fi books (gifting to L)
  • 4th = digital photo frame (never used, sold to H)
  • 5th = a measuring jug (to be donated as I never use it)
  • 6th = a band tie (returning to the band)
  • 7th = unused greetings cards (I'm unlikely to use them so they will be donated)
  • 8th = a pair of shoes (one of the heels is wobbly, so only fit for the bin)
  • 9th = discoloured drinks bottle (in recycling bin)
  • 10th = one of the music bags I used for teaching (to be donated)
  • 11th = plastic storage boxes (I never use them, gifting to E)
  • 12th = broken candle lighter (to be recycled)
  • 13th = instruction booklets for items that I no longer own (to be recycled)
  • 14th = empty cotton reels (no idea why I kept these, now in recycling bin)
  • 15th = 3 boxes of donations to H 
I gave all of the remaining items to H so this part of the decluttering, i.e. the items to be donated, is finished for now. 😀

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Wednesday

In the end I decided against driving to Bath yesterday. It was wet and dismal and I just felt really chilled, so the thought of a day at home in the warm won out. After a morning of feeling sorry for myself I pulled myself together and got on with the decluttering ... one more item has been paid for so that's been packed and will be sent off today and I filled another box with donations for H. She will collect the three boxes I have ready for her tonight on her way home. I think I'm now just left with the items to sell so that's what I'll focus on for the rest of this week.

Today is going to be an online day! My piano lessons have changed to Wednesdays at C's request but it actually suits me better as it means that my Tuesdays now remain free of any online classes. Once the style class is completed my Mondays will be free as well which makes it easier to arrange to meet up with friends etc. The piano lesson is slotted in between the nutrition club and the style class, and then I've arranged to meet up with J for a coffee in the garden centre café nearest her home. 

I can't think of anything else so will end by saying that I hope you all have a good day whatever you have planned. 

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My September decluttering challenge:

  • 1st = 2 stained storage boxes (to be recycled)
  • 2nd = a band fleece (only worn once so returning it to the band as I will never wear it again) 
  • 3rd = 3 sci-fi books (gifting to L)
  • 4th = digital photo frame (never used, sold to H)
  • 5th = a measuring jug (to be donated as I never use it)
  • 6th = a band tie (returning to the band)
  • 7th = unused greetings cards (I'm unlikely to use them so they will be donated)
  • 8th = a pair of shoes (one of the heels is wobbly, so only fit for the bin)
  • 9th = discoloured drinks bottle (in recycling bin)
  • 10th = one of the music bags I used for teaching (to be donated)
  • 11th = plastic storage boxes (I never use them, gifting to E)
  • 12th = broken candle lighter (to be recycled)
  • 13th = instruction booklets for items that I no longer own (to be recycled)
  • 14th = empty cotton reels (no idea why I kept these, now in recycling bin)
  • 15th = 3 boxes of donations to H 

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Tuesday

In the garden ...


It took me ages to get going yesterday but in the end it was a productive day from a decluttering point of view, even if I didn't manage to fit in another adventure. Five out of the seven buyers had paid so I packed up those items and took them to the local post office. I forgot that a lot of pensions are paid out on a Monday morning so it took ages - I waited in the car park until the queue cleared - and they've all been sent now. I'm hoping the remaining two will pay today so I can get those two packages out of the way as well. 

H phoned to ask if I will let her have all of the items I'm setting aside for a charity shop donation as she will be selling at car boot sales nearer Christmas to raise money for the local hospice. I'm happy to do that so I spent a good part of yesterday morning looking for all the bits and pieces I can donate - two boxes so far but there's probably more to find. H will collect the boxes towards the end of the week, so that'll be another load of stuff to leave the house; interestingly most of my late partner's stuff has now gone and I'm now sorting through my own things, finding quite a lot that I no longer wish to keep.

The rest of the morning was taken up with Tesco's customer service as I hadn't received the refund for the order they cancelled on Sept 4th. I tried to phone but with no real luck but surprisingly an email received an immediate response, an apology, and an assurance that the money will be refunded straight away which in banking terms means between 3 and 5 days. I'll be keeping an eye on my bank account to make sure the money arrives as promised. 

The style coach session was about cultivating confidence in yourself and in your personal style, and focused on dealing with the negative self talk that lots of people seem to do. I won't repeat the session here as it's pretty much covered in this article and there is plenty of information and suggestions on the internet if you are interested in reading more about the subject. Next session, or it may be next week, we move on to body types/shapes.

Last night I watched Only Connect followed by the next episode of the new series of The Brokenwood Mysteries and then had an early night.

Today, the only thing in my diary is my second choice for the Heritage Open Days, this one is a visit to see Eyre Chantry Chapel in Bath. I'm aiming to get there at 10am when it opens as parking spaces are difficult to find in that part of the city but there are a couple of spaces right by the chapel so I'm hoping to get in there. Depending on the weather I may go down into the city afterwards for a wander round Sydney Gardens or the Royal Victoria Park, but it is forecast to rain so if it does pour down I'll be quite happy with just seeing the chapel and then coming home to the warm and dry! This was originally going to clash with my piano lesson but at C's request I've changed to have lessons on a Wednesday.

I'll continue with the decluttering when I get home. 

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My September decluttering challenge:

  • 1st = 2 stained storage boxes (to be recycled)
  • 2nd = a band fleece (only worn once so returning it to the band as I will never wear it again) 
  • 3rd = 3 sci-fi books (gifting to L)
  • 4th = digital photo frame (never used, sold to H)
  • 5th = a measuring jug (to be donated as I never use it)
  • 6th = a band tie (returning to the band)
  • 7th = unused greetings cards (I'm unlikely to use them so they will be donated)
  • 8th = a pair of shoes (one of the heels is wobbly, so only fit for the bin)
  • 9th = discoloured drinks bottle (in recycling bin)
  • 10th = one of the music bags I used for teaching (to be donated)
  • 11th = plastic storage boxes (I never use them, gifting to E)
  • 12th = broken candle lighter (to be recycled)
  • 13th = instruction booklets for items that I no longer own (to be recycled)
  • 14th = empty cotton reels (no idea why I kept these, now in recycling bin)