Friday, 31 October 2014

304/365: Cotoneaster

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 31: Love The Little Things | 31st October

Here are some of the little things I've loved this week.

Read | I'm still reading 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.  It's a book group read and isn't one that I'd have chosen, but have surprised myself by really enjoying it so far.
I've also been doing a lot of blog reading.  As well as the ones I've been following for ages, I've also found a few new ones which share my love of photography and have regular photo memes: Knowing Where To Stand, 52 Photos Project, The Beetle Shack, and PODcast.

Watched | Way too much TV! I've been keeping up with Doctor Who, Lewis and Granchester and started watching the new series, The Missing, starring James Nesbitt. 

Heard | Nothing of any note this week.  I seem to do most of my listening in the car as I'm driving from home to schools so of course that hasn't been happening this week because of half term.

Made | Lots of meals for the freezer using new-to-me Slimming World recipes: cheese and onion pie, lentil and vegetable soup, pea and ham soup, shepherd's pie, chicken casserole, chicken curry and vegetarian chilli. 

Worn | Winter woollies!  The gloves and scarves have been found, washed and left in the downstairs cloakroom.  The summer cardies have been washed and put away and the chunky winter ones are now being worn. 

And Lastly ... It's back to work on Monday and time to get started on the Christmas music, ready for the December performances - apologies to all the parents, but the kids love it!  I'll start off feeling keen but by mid December I know I'll be sick to death of hearing 'Jingle Bells' played enthusiastically, but not necessarily musically, by hyper 8 to 11 year olds, and I'll be thinking 'never again' ... until this time next year! 
Sorry for the lack of photos - I only found this blog hop today and haven't any suitable photos to include.  I'll try to do better next week!

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 30: 888,246 Poppies

I'm beginning to think I may be a bit stupid!

{waits for sniggering to stop ...}

.... yesterday I went to London, but for some unknown reason it hadn't occurred to me that London during the half term school holiday would be busy, or that the area around the Tower of London would be especially busy with people eager to see the last few days of the poppy installation.
It was jam packed with sightseers! The crowds were so bad that it took me nearly an hour to get from Tower Hill underground station to the front of the Tower of London by the railings where it was possible to see the poppies, normally about ten minutes walk. It was also raining, so there was the added problem of avoiding the ones with umbrellas who seemed intent on taking people's eyes out!
But then I managed to get to the front and saw the poppies .... and the crowds and the wait and the rain didn't matter.  They were amazing.  It wasn't really the day for photographs - wet and misty (the top of The Shard is obscured by mist in the first one) and no chance of choosing a good position, but I took some anyway.  I'd taken the longer lens with me to get some closer shots but it wasn't safe to change it (being continuously jostled, I was worried I'd drop one or other of the lenses) so these were taken with the standard lens.

Words really can't describe the sight of all the poppies and actually seeing them all spread out below me did make me a bit tearful.  I was feeling emotional anyway, being in London without Ced: London was 'our place' so it was strange to be at the Tower, one of our favourite places, without him.  I'm so glad I went to see them.
As for the rest of the day ... getting back to the underground was another challenge.  It had cleared a little so didn't take quite as long, only to find that they'd closed the station due to overcrowding!  I followed directions to the next station to find that closed as well due to ... you've guessed it - overcrowding. So what to do?  I could have waited for them to re-open the stations but I had no idea how long that would take and I was wet and getting cold so I started to walk back towards the Embankment.
I was also looking for photos of 'patriotism' so was hoping to see some flags or something, but no luck.  But what I did see was a bus stop for one of the tour buses so I treated myself to a ticket and settled down for the commentary as we drove around London.  The ticket entitled me to two different bus tours and a river tour but I didn't have time to do the river one this time.  Anyway, that's how I spent the rest of my day, seeing all the sights of London through rain splashed windows.  I had food and drink with me, the commentary was interesting and sitting in the warmth of the tour bus I soon dried out and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  An added bonus was that one of the bus routes passed the coach station so I stayed on that bus for a second trip until it got to the coach station, so avoided having to use the underground.
The coach journey home was a bit fraught.  We left on time but were delayed for 25 minutes by an accident on the motorway, then an additional 10 minutes by another delay a bit further on, and finally another 20 minutes due to a detour because one of the main roads just outside of Devizes was closed for repairs.  All of which meant that I didn't get home till gone 11, tired but happy with how the day turned out and glad I went!

303/365: Honeysuckle

Surprised to see some more flowers on the honeysuckle.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 29: W...W...W...Wednesday

I'm joining in with a meme organised by MizB @ shouldbereading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
Currently reading:  'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.
The blurb say: Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

This is one of my book group reads and for once, is a non-fiction.  I've only just started it but so far, I like the style of writing and it looks like it is going to live up to all the hype about it.

Recently finished: 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce.
The blurb says: When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life.
I loved this book.  It's the best one I've read for ages, very poignant and thought provoking.  It's stayed in my mind since I finished reading it, I just didn't want it to finish. 

Reading next: 'Sarah's Key' by Tatiana de Rosnay.

The blurb says: Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten-year-old girl, is taken with her parents by the French police as they go door to door arresting Jewish families in the middle of the night. Desperate to protect her younger brother, Sarah locks him in a bedroom cupboard—their secret hiding place—and promises to come back for him as soon as they are released.
Sixty Years Later: Sarah’s story intertwines with that of Julia Jarmond, an American journalist investigating the roundup. In her research, Julia stumbles onto a trail of secrets that link her to Sarah, and to questions about her own future. 

This is another book group read.  I saw, and enjoyed, the film a few years ago so am hoping it doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

302/365: Spirea

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 28: Getting Excited

I've spent a good few hours today looking for my guide to London.  No luck, I can't find it and to be honest, I can't even remember the last time I saw it or used it.  I know it's here somewhere as it definitely wouldn't have been thrown away but I've obviously put if somewhere safe or, more likely, it's still in a box waiting to be unpacked and loved again.  It's just a bit frustrating as I'm off to London tomorrow and it such a useful book.  It's pocket sized with really clear maps which are easy to read even with my poor eyesight and I feel a bit lost without it, even though I know the way really!
I'm heading for the Tower of London to see the poppies before the installation is dismantled on Remembrance Day and I also want to see The Mall, St James Park, The Embankment and the Millennium Bridge if I have enough time.  I have plans for the photos I'd like to take but the weather forecast is dire so I'll have to see how it goes.  That's the downside of booking tickets in advance, but I can't change it now so I'm hoping that it won't be raining continuously all day.
Anyway, my bag is packed with food for the journey, cameras (batteries fully charged), spare lens, extra memory card, money and tickets.  I'll be tucked up in bed suitably early tonight ready for a 5:00am start tomorrow. 
I'm getting excited ... I love London!

301/365: Begonia

Monday, 27 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 27: The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window ... it is cloudy, but dry.  
I am thinking ... about the changes to the house over the next week.  The work was delayed because the handyman dislocated his ankle, but he is now back at work and will be starting at my home on Thursday.
I am thankful ... that it is half term and I have the chance to rest.

In the kitchen ... I am stock taking in preparation for a big shop later this week.  Now I am following the Slimming World plan I have changes to make to my usual purchases.

I am wearing ... clothes that are now too big as a result of the weight loss so far.

I am creating ... some simple parts for the new beginners, using the three notes they know, so that they can join in with some of the Christmas carol playing next month.

I am going ... to complete the gravelling in the garden this week.

I am wondering ... how and where to celebrate Christmas this year.

I am reading ... 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.  It's a non-fiction book group read; I wasn't sure of the choice but it is proving to be a much easier read than I was expecting, considering the subject matter. 
I am hoping ...  that the changes to my medication start to make a difference and I feel better.
I am looking forward to ... going to London on Wednesday to see the poppies at the Tower of London.
I am learning ... all about Slimming World food optimising.  It's a big learning curve and is a different approach from the calorie counting but I'm enjoying the new way of eating.
Around the house ...  it is chaos.  The living room and dining room are piled high with the stuff from the soon to be decorated music room. 
I am pondering ... what I can do next in the house. Whatever I decide it won't be done this side of Christmas.

One of my favourite things ... cosy chats with friends and family.
A few plans for the rest of the week ...
  • Tuesday: gardening
  • Wednesday: day trip to London
  • Thursday: Slimming World weigh in, then home for handyman to start work and I'll work in the garden
  • Friday: handyman continuing work and I'll work in the garden
  • Saturday: shopping and cooking for freezer
  • Sunday: gardening + some photography 
  • Monday: handyman to finish work and I'll be teaching + some photography 

A peek into my day ... I haven't felt too well today so have spent most of the day sleeping on the sofa. In between I've done a bit in the garden, watched some TV, made a few phone calls to friends and emailed Joy to reschedule meeting for lunch.
A favourite quote for today ...
"It is never too late to be what you might have been"- George Eliot

300/365: The Back Garden

It's taken a while, but I've finally managed to get the membrane down in the back garden; although it's been about six weeks since the garden was cleared there hasn't been too much regrowth to deal with, just a few weeds which came out easily.  It doesn't look like it in this photo (as I took it quite early on) but the entire exposed area is now covered and the membrane is weighted down.  I will move the excess gravel from the front garden tomorrow and then I'll know how much more I need to get.

Then it's on to replanting the shrubs which belong on this side of the garden.  I'm way behind due to poor weather and poor health, but am determine to get it finished this week, even if it means working in the rain!  I have offers to help me at the weekend if needed, so it should be in good order before I go back to work next week.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

299/365: Pieris

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 26: This Week ...

Sunday 19th October
The morning was tied up with completing Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, then the rest of the day was spent pottering around doing bits of housework, watching TV and blog reading.
Monday 20th October
Yet another day off work feeling unwell.  I'm getting seriously fed up with this and am hoping it is mostly due to being overtired and that a rest at half term will sort me out.
Tuesday 21st October
I slept in for most of the morning, then had a soak in the bath and got ready for my Tuesday afternoon school; running a lunch time recorder group and teaching the recorder to three classes.  I wasn't feeling 100% but enjoyed the afternoon anyway.  I opted for a quiet evening at home.
Wednesday 22nd October
An early start for my Wednesday morning school, then back home by 11 o'clock and the official start of half term for me.  I was hoping to get out in the garden but it was too wet so spent the afternoon preparing my invoices and completing the supporting paperwork to claim payment for the lessons delivered this term.  Another relaxing evening at home.
Thursday 23rd October
A disappointing start to the day with the Slimming World weigh in; no loss but also no gain - it's so frustrating because I've been stuck at this weight for weeks.  Some good news today though, as I managed to rearrange a new starting date with the decorator (30th Oct), so spent some time moving piles of boxes to empty the room he will be working in.  Finished my letters and submitted my invoices for payment.   Went to see a matinee performance of The Mousetrap at the Theatre Royal in Bath, then another quiet night in, and an early night.
Friday 24th October

I have absolutely no idea what I did today!  I was constantly busy, pottering around the house, but I can't actually say what I achieved - it was one of those sort of days.  I was supposed to be going on a Bizarre Comedy Walk around Bath, but it was cancelled so I stayed at home and finished reading 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry'.  I loved this book, the best one I've read for a long time - very poignant and thought provoking, the sort of book that stays in your mind long after you've finished reading it.

I finished the evening watching TV - the new series of Lewis and then the Graham Norton show - and then started on the next book group choice, 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks', so in the end I didn't get to bed until gone midnight.  So much for my early nights!

Saturday 25th October
Woke up feeling achy so had a long soak in the bath and managed to somehow miss phone calls from family and friends - I must have fallen asleep in the bath. Made a quick trip to town for fresh vegetables and the cash point and then over to Bradford on Avon to a meetups lunch.  There were two no shows, so only a small group of four for lunch which was probably better - sometimes the groups are too big and dissolve into lots of separate conversations.  Anyway, I had a good time and enjoyed their company - I'll see them all again in a couple of weeks because we've all booked our places on a curry night in Frome.  

I fell asleep again when I got home (what is the matter with me!!) and then had a quiet night watching TV - Doctor Who and a repeat of the first Sherlock series.

Linking with The Sunday Round-Up

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 25: Six Word Saturday

Enjoyed lunch here with new friends 
© Copyright Chris Talbot and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

© Copyright Jaggery and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

298/365: Fuchsia

Friday, 24 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 24: Librocubicularist

Reading Jen's blog today, I found out that there is actually a word to describe what I get up to ... apparently I'm a librocubicularist.

You live and learn! 

297/365: Cornus Alba 'Baton Rouge'

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 23: Highs and Lows

It's been an up and down sort of day ...

Lows include ...
  • weighing in at Slimming World to find that I haven't lost any weight this week!  I'm really disappointed about this as I've put so much effort into sticking to the plan but I'll keep going and hope for a better result next week.
  • breaking a mug.
  • cancelling my planned photo walk this morning because it started to rain.
  • breaking the loom band bracelet that one of my pupils made for me (it's attached it to my cornet case but I've caught it on something and it's starting to unravel).

Highs include ...
  • going to the Theatre Royal in Bath this afternoon to see the Mousetrap.  I'd been told 'don't bother going as it is the most boring play you'll ever see' but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
  • losing myself for a while, joining Harold Fry on his unlikely pilgrimage (the book I'm reading)
  • trying a new recipe for lunch - Slimming World's chicken tikka 
  • putting the finishing touches to my Advent calendar
  • remembering to post a birthday card to my niece (see, my memory hasn't gone even if I have had to send her belated birthday wishes for the last couple of years)!
  • rearranging a date for the decorator to start work - it'll all be finished by November 3rd.  I can't tell you how happy I am about this - it means I can get the music room sorted before Christmas, which I didn't think was going to happen.
I'm staying in tonight.  There's nothing I want to watch on the TV so I think I'll make a start on sorting out another box of Ced's stuff.

296/365: Cotoneaster

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

295/365: Berries

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 22: My 1,000th Post!

Yes, that's right ... I've waffled on for 1,000 posts! 
Today I'm sharing a sunset, photographed at Blacklands near Calne.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

294/365: Euonymus

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 21: Tuesday Ten

Today the Tuesday Ten team have asked us to offer up 10 nuggets of advice to anyone we choose.  Some are general ones but I know who I'm thinking of for a few of them (but have decided to keep the advice anonymous to avoid upsetting people I care about!). 
  1. Dream by all means.  Dream big.  But ... don't forget to enjoy the journey and find pleasure in what you are doing now.  You can't get 'now' back.
  2. Don't try to grow up too fast.  These teenage years are important in forming the adult you will become.
  3. If you have the time to dream, you have the time to get on and do it.  Don't make excuses!
  4. Saving the pennies really does make a difference ... make it a habit.
  5. Smile!
  6. Treasure the little things in life.
  7. Don't allow your head to be full of negative thoughts.
  8. If you don't ask, you'll never know what the answer is!
  9. Start believing in yourself.  If you  don't believe in 'you', why should anyone else?
  10. Don't eat yellow snow!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 20: Blue Monday

I had to take another day off work again so am not up to writing the post that I'd planned for today.  Instead I am linking to Blue Monday and sharing some random photos from my holiday in Cornwall earlier this year. 

Many thanks to Sally for organising Blue Monday.

293/365: Tomato

The very last one ... it's tiny!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

292/365: Spirea

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 19: This Week ...

Sunday 12th October

Today I turned down invites to Sunday dinner and opted for solitude.  I spent the day at home listening to my body, sleeping when I was tired and eating when I was hungry.  By 7pm I felt rested both physically and mentally and ready to face the week ahead.
Monday 13th October
Monday was an early start as I have to leave home at 7:30am to reach my first school on time.  Today I didn't wake until 7:00am (I'd set the alarm but had been pressing the snooze as part of my dream!) so it was a mad dash to get ready and out of the house on time.  I made it on time but had that 'catching up with myself' feeling all day. 

I was teaching all day, then home for a warm bath and a cosy evening at home.

Tuesday 14th October

Off to see the doctor first thing.  Another tweak to my medication but hopefully it is now sorted - I have to go back again in December.  Spent the rest of the morning completing bits and bobs of paperwork and producing the certificates for the award ceremony at band on Saturday. 

A stressful afternoon teaching three classes of stir crazy kids who'd been confined all day due to the rain.  Home by 3:15pm to relax with a strong cup of coffee!! Too tired to go out again, so spent the evening reading and letter writing.

Wednesday 15th October

A really rough start to the day after a disturbed night vomiting. I didn't think it was as a result of a bug but took the day off anyway as I couldn't face the drive to work.  I spent the morning and early afternoon in bed, dozing and relaxing and was back to feeling normal by the late afternoon. 

I was unsure whether to go to the new book group I'd booked myself on but in the end I decided to go, rather than spend the evening alone most probably feeling sorry for myself!  It turned out to be my best decision of the day - quite a small group and we all got on well together; easy conversation, genuine interest in each other and a chance to find out what else is going on in the area.   We actually discussed the set book as well!

Thursday 16th October

I signed up with Slimming World in the morning - there is a group which meets in the local social club which is about 10 minutes walk from home, so no excuses!  The afternoon was tied up with teaching and then I did some food shopping on the way home.

The Meetup curry night, scheduled for tonight was postponed but I was looking forwards to a spicy meal so I went for a curry and a catch up with Julie.

Friday 17th October

Friday means teaching all day, but at least the time passes quickly!  I got home about 5 o'clock and then spent a couple of hours on housework and lesson planning. 

Then an evening at home watching Lewis, making phone calls and making a couple of cards.

Saturday 18th October

Band in the morning.  It was the annual awards so we did a mini concert to the parents and then presented the certificates and cups to the various recipients. 

I spent the rest of the day and evening joining in with Dewey's 24 hour Readathon. 
Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 18: Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

1pm - Introductory post
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Trowbridge, Wiltshire UK
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I haven't decided on my books for the read-a-thon.  I'll just choose as I go along!
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I'll be trying to avoid any snacks as I want to lose weigh, but I have some fresh fruit if needed.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I live alone, so have plenty of time to indulge in all my various hobbies.  I like reading all sorts but particularly crime and detective novels.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?  I'm may read a short story on the Kindle.  I'm only aiming to do the readathon for 18 hours this time - 10 hours today and 8 hours tomorrow.

7pm - Update

Six hours gone, so it is officially a quarter of the way through the readathon and a third of the way through the hours I intend to do.

I've been reading 'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz which I started reading earlier in the week.  I'm up to page 279 so have read about 200 pages today.  That's quite a slow reading rate for me but I'm putting it down to being so tired, which is why I'm not trying for the full 24 hours this time. Luckily, I'm enjoying the book and the story line is keeping me interested, otherwise I'd be struggling to stay focused.

Of the six hours, I've been reading for about 5 hours and 15 minutes and only stopping to make something to eat - chicken and mushrooms in a pesto sauce with tagliatelle and a salad.

Sunday 19th October 7am - Update

Eighteen hours into the readathon, so we are officially into the final quarter.

I read up to midnight last night making a total of 11 hours yesterday.  I finished my first book and started reading 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce.

Sunday 19th October, 1:00pm - End of Event

Which hour was most daunting for you? To be honest, I found the entire event challenging this time.  I was overtired before it even started and have struggled to keep my concentration.  That all sounds rather negative, but despite how I was feeling I have enjoyed the luxury of blocking out the rest of the world and snuggling up with a good book.
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I don't think any of the books I read count as 'high-interest'!
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  From my point of view, it all worked really well so I haven't any suggestions for improvement.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  I liked the support of the cheerleaders.  They've all done a fantastic job.
How many books did you read?
  • What were the names of the books you read?  'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz (337/437 pages), 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joycey (100/357 pages),
  • Which book did you enjoy most? I've enjoyed both of them.  They are completely different styles but both are easy to read page turners.
  • Which did you enjoy least? N/A
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Yes, I will definitely do this again, as a reader.

291/365: Fuchsia

Friday, 17 October 2014

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 17: Weigh in Wednesday (on a Friday!!)

I'm a bit late with this one, but better late than never.

I've been doing well with the calorie counting and up until about three weeks ago I was averaging a loss of a pound a week.  Then it just stopped.  I didn't make any changes, was sticking to what had previously worked, but ... no loss.  No gain either, but I've decided that I need to change my approach so this week I signed up with Slimming World.
I did this a few years ago so I know that the SW approach works for me, although it has changed significantly since the last time I did it.  I'm still reading through all the booklets and there is also a lot of online information and support to plough through.  Fingers crossed that this will kick start the weight loss!
Linking with Weigh In Wednesday.

290/365: More Raindrops ... on Pieris this time!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

289/365: Honeysuckle Berries

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 16: Taking Stock

Angie did a taking stock post yesterday and I've also seen a few of these on various blogs, so I'm joining in ... here's my take on it ...
  • Making nothing at the moment but as soon as I've sorted a crafting space in the second bedroom, I'll be starting on a quilt.  Watch this space!
  • Cooking soups, stews and casseroles for the freezer. 
  • Drinking either black coffee or water.
  • Reading 'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz.  I've also found a couple of new (to me) blogs to follow - Going Gently and The Flowers of Progress.
  • Wanting to hear that the decorator has recovered from his dislocated ankle, is back at work and is able to agree a date for my jobs to be completed.  I just want it all to be finished now.
  • Looking for some winter boots that will be comfortable enough to wear all day long when I'm teaching, the problem being that a lot of the schools are overheated and I get too hot.
  • Playing lots of time wasting games on Facebook.   
  • Deciding, or trying to decide, on changes I can make to my working life to give me more free time and fewer expenses.
  • Wishing for a mild winter.  I have lots of plans for photography walks but do not function well when it is too cold, so milder temperatures please!
  • Enjoying the positive changes in my life.  Finding out about Meetup and joining in with some of the local events has made a big difference to me and I'm no longer spending too much time alone.
  • Waiting for a text from my friend about booking theatre tickets to see a show in the week before Christmas.
  • Liking the new bubble bath I bought this week - it's blackberry blossom and wild fig.
  • Wondering when my nephew will collect the dining room table and chairs I borrowed from him when I first moved into this home.  I bought my own set back in August and have been waiting since then for him to arrange a collection date.  I'm seriously pushed for space so need this to be sorted.
  • Loving that it is nearly half term - only five more working days and then I have ten days break from work.
  • Pondering whether to change to the Slimming World eating plan.  I need to make some changes as the weight loss has ground to a halt (no loss, no gain for the last three weeks) but I'm also feeling hungry a lot of the time.  The problem is that I'll have to commit to the plan, i.e. paying my fee, before I can find out exactly what the current plan involves.  I did it a few years ago and know that it worked then but have also heard that they have made significant changes in the last couple of years but don't know how those changes will affect me. 
  • Considering changes to my budget and planning some economy measures so that I can find the money to complete the rest of the things I want done on the house without dipping into my savings.
  • Watching quite a bit more TV than usual.  Time to find the 'off button' again.
  • Hoping that I've finally found a choir to join.  The local Philharmonic group looks promising; I've sent an email asking for a couple of things to be clarified and am hopeful that the response will be favourable so that I can get started in time for the Christmas concert.
  • Marvelling at the Tower of London poppy display.  I'm going to see it during half term.
  • Needing nothing at all, but wanting lots of things!!
  • Smelling nothing as I have no sense of smell!
  • Wearing just my dressing gown. I don't have to work until this afternoon so haven't got dressed yet.
  • Following the antics of the new Doctor Who on Saturday nights.  I haven't made up my mind whether I like Peter Capaldi as the Doctor; I don't dislike him but at the moment he doesn't match up to the David Tennant era.
  • Noticing the autumn colours gradually changing the appearance of the countryside. 
  • Knowing that I should be getting on with the decluttering but losing interest.  I've shut the door to the third bedroom and, for the time being, am pretending it's not full of boxes that need sorting out.
  • Thinking about a colleague who is being tested to see if she has epilepsy.  A scary time for her and her family.
  • Feeling fragile!  I took the day off yesterday after a night long bout of vomiting and I'm still feeling drained.  Back to work today though.
  • Admiring the synopsis for a book my friend is planning to write. If he ever gets it published I'll be buying the first copy!
  • Sorting out a selection of books to read - it's Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this weekend.
  • Buying Christmas gifts for family and friends.  This year I'm determined to have everything bought by the beginning of December. 
  • Getting off my backside to do some ironing when I've finished this post.  I need to iron my clothes for tonight - off out with Julie for a curry and then maybe on to a music night in Bradford on Avon.
  • Bookmarking lots of new recipes I've found on foodgawker.
  • Disliking the change in the weather.  I don't mind it getting cooler but when I have to work I dislike rainy days getting wet walking to and from the schools - I'm always carrying too much to be able to use an umbrella!
  • Opening boxes, discovering goodies that I'd forgotten I had!  So the question is ... if I'd forgotten them, do I need to keep them?
  • Giggling at some of the comments I overheard when some children were talking about the importance of Shakespeare.  I think their teachers would be disappointed ... I didn't know he played rugby!!
  • Feeling tired and out of sorts.  I hope the change in medication works this time and things get back to normal.
  • Snacking on nothing.  I'm watching my weight and am being really good about sticking to my plan, which doesn't include snacks.
  • Coveting nothing that come to mind. 
  • Wishing I could do watercolour paintings.  If I could choose a talent, that's what I'd choose to do. 
  • Helping out at the band every Saturday morning and still enjoying it.
  • Hearing the radio in the background, tuned to Classic FM. 

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

288/365: More Raindrops!

Blogtoberfest 2014 Day 15: W...W...W... Wednesdays

I'm joining in with a meme organised by MizB @ shouldbereading. To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?
Currently reading: 'Tell No Lies' by Gregg Hurwitz. 

The blurb on the back of the book says: Daniel Brasher is leaving behind his job as a probation counsellor working with hardened criminals to spend more time with his wife, now well again after a serious illness. However, nothing is ever that simple. When he finds a scrawled message in the post at work demanding 'admit what you've done or you will bleed for it.  You have 'til midnite', he is horrified - then relieved to discover it's not addressed to him.  But he learns that the intended victim is already dead. More death threats signal a series of gruesome, seemingly inexplicable murders.  Until a note is addressed to Daniel himself.  And with the clock ticking he must discover who wants him dead.  And why.  Or become the next victim ... 

This was in the last pile of books passed on to me by my sister.  I've only just started it but so far I like the style of writing and the story line seems to move at a fair pace, so it all looks for a promising read.

Recently finished: 'Rage Against the Dying' by Becky Masterman.
The blurb says: Remains found. Confession secured. Case Closed.  Or at least that's what the official FBI channels believe.  But Brigid Quinn - a retired agent with a bloody secret of her own - doesn't think so.  They've got the wrong man.  Which leaves only one question: what would make you confess to a murder you didn't commit?
This was another book passed on to me by my sister.  It was a good, undemanding read which was exactly what I wanted.  I liked the pace of the story and Quinn, the main character was well drawn. 

Reading next: I'll be reading the next book group selections, one of them I won't know until the meeting tonight.  The other book group has chosen 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.

The blurb say: Henrietta Lacks, as HeLa, is known to present-day scientists for her cells from cervical cancer. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells were taken without her knowledge and still live decades after her death. Cells descended from her may weigh more than 50M metric tons.

HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks was buried in an unmarked grave.

The journey starts in the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s, her small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia — wooden slave quarters, faith healings, and voodoo. Today are stark white laboratories with freezers full of HeLa cells, East Baltimore children and grandchildren live in obscurity, see no profits, and feel violated. The dark history of experimentation on African Americans helped lead to the birth of bioethics, and legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of.

I haven't read a non fiction/biography for ages so am looking forward to this one.

Linking with Blogtoberfest 2014