Sunday, 31 August 2014

Saturday, 30 August 2014

242/365: Narcissi

These flowered in January/February this year and I wasn't expecting any signs of life from them until next year, so am very surprised to find this growth at the end of August.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

240/365: Dwarf Pinks

... just the leaves - it has finished flowering for this year!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Monday, 25 August 2014

This Summer!

I've been really lazy about updating the blog during my summer break from work.  Apart from the daily photo that is, but lots of other things have been happening, so here goes!
I had big ideas on what I'd do over the summer months but for one reason or another things haven't quite worked out as I planned. The Harry Potter Studio Tour has been postponed until later in the year as I couldn't co-ordinate a trip to the studio with all the other things I want to do during my stay in London.  I have to fit in with when my friends can go and it's now looking more like an October trip, so probably during half term.  The Bristol Balloon Fiesta clashed with other commitments so I could only go on the last day but decided against it on the day because of the severe weather warnings - maybe next year for that one.  I tried to book the Longleat trip using my Tesco vouchers but it seems that I don't have quite enough, so I'm waiting until I do which will probably be the start of the next season now (April/May).  I tried to book the cookery course but they still haven't given me a date (since June!) so I am looking for another course.
So that's all that I didn't do and now to what I did do.  I finally went on an open topped tourist bus in Bath!  Yay! I enjoyed it immensely, one of those things I wish I'd done years ago but isn't that always the same with tourist things on your doorstep?  I also completed the beginners quilting course, which was good fun and I'm now waiting for them to publish their list of courses for the next quarter to choose the next one.
I've done a bit in the garden but not all that I'd planned because I've had a couple of bouts of illness and when I've been well, the weather has been awful.  There's still plenty of time so do some of it if the weather behaves itself!  I want to at least remove the corner unit and get that area planted this year.  I've cropped the honeysuckle which grows over the fence so I can plant something there now as well.  I took a few cuttings from the honeysuckle before I attacked it and a couple of them are looking very healthy so when it's time it will be planted behind the garage, although it may have to be potted up until I get that space cleared.
Most of my time and effort has been spent sorting out the music room/study.  My nephew removed the dishwasher, plumbed in the new washer dryer and disconnected the old washing machine and tumble dryer.  All the old appliances have now gone to the recycling centre and I'm sorting the walls ready for painting - I've removed the shelves and have lots of holes to fill and sand down.  Or rather, that's what I should be doing but I'm not well again so work has ground to a halt for the time being.  I see my doctor on Saturday so hopefully this can be sorted out.  I've found the details of two local handymen so will be asking them to quote on some of the work I want done.
I've managed to keep up with my aim to get out and meet up with people over the summer break.  I've met with friends for lunch (Joy, Lyn, Julie, Suzy and Kate) and spent some time with family including a fantastic afternoon when Little Miss C and Little Miss H successfully played (!!) all my instruments - I apologised to the neighbours afterwards! 
I've also joined an organisation called 'Meet Ups'.  I'm not really a 'club' sort of person as every one I've ever joined seems to be hampered by power struggles and club politics so I never stay for long.  Meet ups seem an ideal way for me to meet new people - this is the 'about page' which explains about the organisation.  I've joined the 'Bristol and Bath Everything Group' which seems to have plenty of my sort of activities going on and as each event is on a first come, first served basis the people attending each meet up varies.  I've been to my first one, which was a book club meeting in Bath;  I enjoyed the meeting and got on well with everyone but didn't like the venue as it was too noisy for easy conversation.  The organiser is looking for a different venue for next time so I have booked my place for the next session when we will be discussing 'The Light Between Oceans' by M L Steadman - I can already see from the RSVPs that some of the same people will be attending but there will also be quite a few new people to meet. I've also put my name down for a curry night in Trowbridge and a ghost walk in Bradford-on-Avon.
There are some interesting photography groups on 'meet ups' but all based in Bristol so I had a look for one on Facebook.  I have joined an online Wiltshire based one, so will be looking to go on some of their events in the future.  I've also contacted the Bradford-on-Avon Photography Group with a view to going to a few of their meetings to see how I get on. I know this is complete contradiction of what I said in the previous paragraph about joining a club, but this group describes themselves as 'not being like the usual photography club cliché so it's worth a look. They meet in a pub, so it looks promising!
Well that's about it for my summer break so far.  I start back at work in just over two weeks and have to say I'm looking forward to getting back in the routine and meeting up with everyone.  Band starts again in three weeks and I think I will be restarting my degree course, so I'll have plenty to keep me occupied.  Sorry for a lack of photos in this post, I just haven't felt well enough to keep a photo record of what I've been up to.

237/365: Cornus Alba 'Baton Rouge'

It's raining again!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

235/365: Pieris

Flower buds on a pieris ... this is the one with white flowers.

Friday, 22 August 2014

234/365: Euonymus

It's started!  The leaves are gradually showing their autumn colour. 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

233/365: Pieris

This is the plant I found in the corner unit; it had been neglected, was stunted and looking sorry for itself.  It's responded well to a bit of loving attention and has finally produced some new red growth.  It's now too big for its current position, but it'll have to stay where it is until I have time to remove the corner unit. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

232/365: Spirea

I'm really enjoying these bright bursts of colour in the garden.
On a different note, does anyone know why Blogger is changing the colour and exposure on my photos?  I'm also having difficulty posting in general - formatting is a nightmare and commenting on other blogs is getting to be near impossible.  It's not my laptop, that's been checked so any suggestions on what to try next will be very much appreciated. 

Weigh In Wednesday [34]

A 2lbs loss this week making a total of 35lbs in 35 weeks - very pleased with that. 
I've found it relatively easy to stick to my daily calorie allowance this week.  I've reduced the amount of meat and increased the amounts of fish, fruit and vegetables.  I've also had a couple of meat/fish free days.  I'm also restricting the amount of coffee I drink, limiting myself to one or two cups a day, and drinking water the rest of the time.  I'm definitely feeling better for these changes so will keep going along the same lines for the coming week.
I've been using the treadmill every day for 30 minutes.  I do this first thing in the morning so that it is over and done with for the day.  Using MFP, any exercise recorded adds to the daily total of available calories but I have chosen to ignore the additional calories earned from exercise, hoping to increase the rate of weight loss.  It's early days to see what effect regular exercise will have but it can only be a positive and my main reason for this change in lifestyle is to reduce my cholesterol level; any weight loss as a direct result of the exercise will be a bonus!
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

Monday, 18 August 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Monday 18th August 2014

Outside my window ... it's a dull day and the grey clouds are gathering. It looks like we are in for more rain - at least I won't need to water the garden!
I am thinking ... about when to go to Ikea in Bristol.  I want to look at their kitchen units and also buy a couple of storage units and some storage boxes for the music room.  It's going to turn into a 'jolly' as Julie and her girls want to come as well.
I am thankful ... for Gumtree.  I've been checking the adverts and was lucky enough to get a nearly new extending dining table and chairs for £130.  It's oak/white and it is exactly the style I want in the kitchen/dining room.  I went to collect it as requested (just in the next village) but the man who was selling it offered to deliver the table at no extra cost to save me the bother of dismantling it.  Aren't people kind?

In the kitchen ... I'm having a 'meat free' day. I've never been a great meat eater but now seem to be eating even less.  My diet has changed completely over the last year and I'm feeling much better as a result; less meat, more fish and loads more fruit and veggies.

I am wearing ... tatty old clothes that have seen better days and really need to be binned.

I am creating ... order out of chaos!  I spent this morning tidying the garage to make room for some of the boxes of things to sell at the next car boot sale.  It's been on my mind to do this for ages but kept putting it off; today I got it done in about two hours and it's freed up some space in the house.  The study is now empty and I am preparing the walls for painting - lots of holes to be filled and sanded.    

I am going ... to focus on decorating the study/music room.  I want to get it finished and furnished by the end of this month so that I am organised to start back at work in September. 

I am wondering ... whether to keep my doll's house.  It was something I planned to do with Ced's help and he was going to make a lot of things to go in it but of course that can't happen now and I'm not sure my heart is still in it.  This isn't the first time I've thought about this but it'll stay where it is for the time being as I can't reach a decision.

I am reading ... nothing!  I've just finished reading 'The Chemistry of Tears' by Peter Carey which is the monthly read for the new book club I am going to.  I didn't enjoy the book at all which is why it has taken me so long to read (4 weeks!) but it'll be interesting to see what the others thought of it.
I am hoping ...  that lubricating the belt on the treadmill is easier than it sounds.  That's my next job when I've finished writing this post.
I am looking forward to ... getting back to work.  I must be getting old as I never thought I'd be saying that!  It's lovely to have such a long break (12 weeks for me) but I'm ready for a change.
I am learning ... to include regular exercise in my life. It's a bit of an effort but I am currently managing 30 minutes a day on the treadmill.  I just get on with it as soon as I get up so that it is over and done with for the day! 
Around the house ... every room is cluttered with the fall-out from the decorating.  The piano is in the middle of the living room and the other instruments and music books are piled in the bedrooms.  The new dining table and chairs are also in the living room until my nephew collects the dining set I'd borrowed from him.
I am pondering ... nothing!  I have enough to occupy my thoughts with the decorating!

One of my favourite things ... listening to the dawn chorus.
A few plans for the rest of the week ...
  • Tuesday: trip to the recycling centre, then decorating
  • Wednesday: finish decorating + book club in the evening
  • Thursday: gardening + photo walk (weather permitting)
  • Friday: shoe shopping
  • Saturday: nothing planned, just relaxing at home
  • Sunday: nothing planned, just relaxing at home
  • Monday: Devizes Street Festival
A peek into my day ... I tidied the garage this morning, reorganised the ever increasing stack of boxes filled with stuff to sell, listed some furniture for sale on Gumtree and started sorting through Ced's books.  It feels good that I'm getting things done.  This evening I'm going to watch some TV - the new series of 'New Tricks' start tonight.
A favourite quote for today ...
"What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it"- unknown

230/365: Begonia

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Friday, 15 August 2014

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

225/365: Petunia

Just managed to take this photo before the rain started.  It's now pouring down, so another day indoors sorting the clutter.

Weigh In Wednesday [33]

I've lost over a pound this week, but not quite enough to call it two pounds! I'm pleased with the rate of loss and am working on new meal ideas to help keep things interesting.
A new health issue has reared its ugly head as a recent blood test has revealed a high cholesterol reading which needs to be addressed.  The advice from the surgery (in the results letter) is to follow a low fat diet and to exercise, but I won't actually see my doctor until next week to discuss the results.  In the meantime I have been examining my diet, but as I already follow a very low fat diet I don't see how I can improve things there.  This means that regular exercise is a now a 'must do'.  I don't want to go to a gym, hate swimming and won't go to exercise groups;   I tried tai chi but haven't got on too well with it so have had a really good think about what I think is achievable. I use the Wii to do steps occasionally and the only other thing I'm comfortable with is walking so I've invested in a treadmill (2nd hand from eBay, I collected it yesterday) as I know that in the winter and on wet days I won't want to go out.  This way, I'll have no excuses!
I still have to do some sorting out to make a place for the treadmill in one of the spare bedrooms and then I'll just have to get on with it. I hope to use it first thing in the morning so that it is over and done with for the day.  The positive side of this is that the exercise will also help with the weight loss!
Linking with Weigh in Wednesday.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

224/365: Fuchsia

The garden took a battering from the recent storm - the fuchsia is one of the few plants to escape unscathed.


Seed heads on the lupins - I'm hoping to save the seeds ready for next year.

Monday, 11 August 2014

223/365: Begonia

Looking very battered after our visit from Bertha last night!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

222/365: Another Rainy Day!

Too wet to venture out today - these plants were nearest the door!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Friday, 8 August 2014

220/365: Cornus Alba 'Baton Rouge'

Yes, I've been to the garden centre again!  This is the only plant I bought today and will go in the corner when the wooden planter is removed, hopefully next week.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

219/365: Sweet Pea Flower

The sweet pea seeds were a gift from Karen.  I was late planting them but they have been flowering for the last two weeks or so; I don't think they are in the best position in the garden and  I keep losing the flowers to the slightest bit of wind.  This is the first one I've managed to photograph!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

218/365: Leucothoe Zeblid

Enjoying the gradual transformation to red foliage.

Weigh In Wednesday [32]

I've pretty much stayed the same this week - the scales indicate a slight loss but not a full pound, so I'm recording it as a 'no loss - no gain' week. I'm not really sure why as I've been on target with the correct calorie intake all week so it may just be down to my body's natural weight fluctuations.  Let's see what happens when I weigh myself next week.
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

217/365: Rain Stops Play!

I'd planned to make a start on clearing the rest of the garden today but the weather had other ideas!  

Monday, 4 August 2014

216/365: Courgettes

Look!  There have been loads of male flowers but this is the first courgette.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Friday, 1 August 2014

213/365: Begonias

At long last, it is living up to its name of cascading red begonia.  Well one side is - the other side continues with its upright habit but I'm hoping it will soon follow the example above!