Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Sunday 30th November 2014

Outside my window ... it is pitch black.  I can't see any lights at all, so maybe the other side of the village has a power cut.  It has been very foggy all day, so one way or the other, it hasn't been a good day for visibility!
I am thinking ... about Ced; looking back on our time together with love and affection, no tears this time.  It's still difficult to be planning the Christmas season without him, but in my own way I'm looking forward to this year's celebrations. 
I am thankful ... for the support I have.  I always seem to write that for this prompt, but it's true. 

In the kitchen ... there is a freezer full of home cooked warming meals to see me through December and into January. 

I am wearing ... comfy, baggy clothes - just right for an evening at home, but I'm seriously hoping I don't have any surprise visitors tonight!

I am creating ... lists to help me keep on top of things; gifts still to buy, dates for carol playing, dates for carol singing and concerts, food to buy for the Christmas celebrations, cards to send ... and so on!

I am going ... out for another meal on Wednesday, this time for the Christmas meal with my new book group. 

I am wondering ... when I can find the time to get my hair cut.

I am reading ... 'The House We Grew Up In' by Lisa Jewell, one of the books on my to-be-read list.  I've just started it and am liking it so far. 
I am hoping ...  that I'll get some more work in a local school so that I can give up one of my other schools to reduce the amount of driving I currently do.  Not only will this give me more free time but it will also reduce my petrol costs.  
I am looking forward to ... the build up to Christmas. I love this time of year filled with concerts, carol playing with the band, carol singing, Christmas meals, theatre trips and church services.  It's almost better than the actual day itself. 
I am learning ... to accept the changes that are inevitably happening in my life - all for the good in the long term, but I've had to accept that some of the people I've been close to may not play an active part in my future.
Around the house ...  it's all looking a bit messy so I need to do a big clean up.  The problem is finding the time to do it!
I am pondering ... various possibilities for photos for my Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt.  I devised the list with Joy, so you'd think I'd have planned the actual prompts to make it relatively easy for myself ... but no, nothing that clever!  At the moment I'm stuck for ideas for three of the prompts so I'll have to get my thinking cap on.  The list is here if you'd like to join in as well.

One of my favourite things ... snuggling up in a warm home now that winter is here.  I don't like the cold weather!
A few plans for the rest of the week ...
  • Monday: teaching all day, committee meeting in the evening
  • Tuesday: shopping in the morning, then teaching in the afternoon
  • Wednesday: teaching in the morning, no plans for the afternoon, then the Christmas meal with one of my book groups in the evening
  • Thursday: teaching in the afternoon, carol playing with the band in the evening
  • Friday: teaching all day, carol singing in the evening
  • Saturday: carol playing with the band mid morning, then meeting with friends for the rest of the day
  • Sunday: no plans - leaving the day free

A peek into my day ... I've been out to lunch at a local pub,  It was a 'meet ups' event and I wasn't sure whether to go as only two of us signed up, but I went along as I didn't want to let the other person down.  I'm so glad I went as she was such good company, the food was fantastic and I ended up having a brilliant time.  I'm counting this as part of my birthday celebration, to make up for the fact that I was ill on the actual day.
A favourite quote for today ...
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."- Steve Jobs

334/365: Begonia

I didn't throw the begonias on the compost heat when they finished flowering as I wanted to watch what happened as they died off and hoped I might get some interesting photos out of it.  I moved them to the area of the garden behind the garage (as in out of site from the house!) and have checked on them from time to time to see what, if anything, was changing.  Today, I found some new growth, which I wasn't expecting at all, so have moved them back to the decking where it is easier to watch the progress.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

333/365: Fallen Leaves

Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt

If you enjoyed the Summer Photographic Scavenger Hunt hosted by Gallo Organico, you might be pleased to discover that there is now a Winter version, which I've organised with Joy (Daisy Row),  and which will run from 1st December to 21st March 2015 - we would like all photos to be taken between these dates.
We'd love you to join in, the more the merrier - sign up below. I will be hosting a linky at the end of each month so you can show your finds, and Joy will be opening a Facebook group for you to join if you'd prefer. If you like you can pinch the picture below for your side bar.

Here is the list:

1. Reflection in water
2. Someone wearing a funny hat
3. Ornate door knocker
4. Breakfast
5. Something that is over 100 years old
6. Winter weather
7. Someone dressed for the season
8. A fish
9. Festive lights
10. A letter shape in nature or in an object
11. Polka dots
12. Silhouette
13. Stained glass window
14. Partly built new building
15. Bunting
16. A collection (of anything)
17. Texture
18. Shadow
19. Street musicians
20. Nativity scene - compulsory and can't be substituted

If you find any of the above hard to get you may substitute one or both of the subjects below, except No. 20 which is compulsory.  Bearing in mind that you may be living in the southern hemisphere, you may also substitute summer weather for winter weather.

Alternative A - new life
Alternative B -  a decorated tree

If you'd like to join in, please add your name to the list below. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

331/365: Clematis 'Winter Beauty'

Guess who forgot to take her daily photo during daylight hours? Taken with on camera flash.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

329/365: Cobbles

I found some more cobbles, lurking under the decking.  Now to find a place for them in the garden.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

326/365: New Shoots

I think these are daffodils ... way too early ... obviously confused by the weather!

Friday, 21 November 2014

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

323/365: Cotoneaster

52 Photo Project #29 :: Vintage Architecture

I'm joining in today with a weekly photo project organised by Bella at 52 Photos Project.  The prompt for this week is vintage architecture.
I'll admit to it being taken from my archives and I think the idea of the project is to take a photo each week;  in my defence ... I've only just found this site so haven't had time to take a suitable image but will play properly next time!!  Anyway, here is one of the arched windows in the cloister at Iford Manor. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

322/365: Unknown Plant

I don't know what this is! 
When the shed was removed it was found in its pot, hiding in the corner. I'm keeping it for a year to see what, if anything, develops.  So far ... nothing!

Tuesday Ten

This week the Tuesday Ten team have asked us to think about our lifetime bucket list and list 'Ten Things You Want to do Before you Die'.

1.  The first one is easy - I want to see the Northern Lights.  If it all goes to plan I hope to combine this experience with the next two things on this list!
Image courtesy of Blamethechicken at

2.   This is the one place I've always wanted to visit ... Iceland, which luckily is a good place to see the Northern Lights!
Image courtesy of CNaene at

3.  And when I'm in Iceland I'm also hoping to be able to go whale watching.
Image courtesy of Richard Hedrick at

4. Closer to home, I want to climb to the top of the dome in St Pauls Cathedral. 
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

5.  I'd love to go on a cruise, probably a river cruise along the Danube.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at

6.  One day I want to walk behind a waterfall, maybe in the Lake District or in Wales.
Image courtesy of lkunl at

7.  I've been interested in the Kennet and Avon Canal for most of my life and one day I'd like to walk its entire length.

8.  One of the personal achievements on my list is to complete the photography degree I started when Ced was ill.  It's still on hold for me to say I'm ready to restart ...  I just have to let them know. 
Image courtesy of scottchan at

9.  Another personal achievement would be to get to grade 8 standard on the piano.  I don't necessarily want to sit the exam but I'd love to achieve that level of playing.

10. The final entry on this list, although my full list is a lot longer, is to complete my research on the family tree ... well, as much as it is possible to say that this sort of research is ever complete!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

320/365: Clematis

This Week ...

Sunday 9th November

Luxury ... a lay in until 11 o'clock!  Woke up feeling refreshed and decided to get on with sorting out the music room.  I actually managed to move the piano on my own ... I can't really believe that I did it, but it's now in the room fitting perfectly into the space I'd imagined for it.  I have to admit that took all my energy, so the rest of the day I only moved from the sofa to get eats and drinks!

Watched the first episode of Intruders on BBC iPlayer and a repeat of Lewis on ITV3, then an early night.

Monday 10th November 

Teaching all day.  I finished at 3 o'clock and then settled in Calne library to read for a couple of hours.  It wasn't worth going home as I was meeting someone in Calne at 5 o'clock to give her a lift to Bath; we went for an early meal and then met up with some others to see the comedian, David Mitchell ... very funny man, it was a great evening and I have a copy of his new book as part of the ticket price.

Tuesday 11th November 

I woke up a few times during the night with a really high temperature so didn't get much sleep.  I still felt under the weather all morning so just pottered about at home in the warm.  I was teaching in the afternoon, but fortunately only had to teach one out of the usual four classes as the others were attending a Remembrance Day ceremony, and I was home again by 2 o'clock. 

I felt much better towards the end of the afternoon but decided against going out (my friend was pleased with my decision as she didn't want to catch whatever was making me feel ill!) and had a much needed early night.
Wednesday 12th November

Teaching first thing, and then the rest of the day was mine to do as I wanted.  Unfortunately the weather wasn't cooperating and it was raining so I stayed at home and did three loads of laundry, some paperwork, a bit of lesson planning and some piano practice.  Of course, once I'd made the decision to stay at home the rain stopped and the sun was shining!

In the evening I caught up on some missed TV via iPlayer - Missing, the second episode of Intruders and an old repeat of Who Do You Think You Are featuring Alexander Armstrong. 

Thursday 13th November
A busy morning at home sorting through a couple of boxes, followed by a trip to the skip and to the charity shop.  Teaching all afternoon with, thankfully, an early finish as a migraine started part way through the lessons - believe me when I say it is absolutely no fun teaching brass instruments when you have a migraine!  Home and straight to bed, which meant that I didn't go to the photography club; disappointing, but bed really was the only option.

Friday 14th November  

Teaching all day then home for a quiet night in as I was feeling completely drained from the migraine. I watched the final instalment of the new Lewis series on TV, then, as I was struggling to stay awake, up to bed at 10 o'clock.
Saturday 15th November

Band in the morning, running through the Christmas carols again - only one more practice session until the first public performance but the children are doing really well so we're feeling optimistic!  Pottering around at home for the rest of the day; measuring up the music room for bookcases and a cabinet of sorts for the printer to sit on ... it looks like a trip to Ikea will feature in the new future! A couple of friends dropped in for a chat and we made an evening of it with an impromptu take-away - Indian, of course!

Linking with The Sunday Round-Up.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Friday, 14 November 2014

318/365: Fuchsia

Love The Little Things - 14th November


Here are some of the little things from this week.

Read | I'm still trying to finish the book group read, 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot.  As a bit of light reading I've caught up on some blog reading; I've just read Ladkyis' blog, Ramblings of a Little Old Lady, from start to finish - she is a brilliant storyteller and writer - laugh out loud stuff!
Watched | Too much TV again, mostly Lewis, Missing and I've started watching Intruders on iPlayer.  I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the first time, a pleasant gentle comedy which I enjoyed.

The best part of the week was on Monday night when I went to see the comedian, David Mitchell (of Peep Show fame), who is currently on tour promoting his new book.  I love his sense of humour and thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Heard | I haven't been listening to much at all this week but I did make time for this recording of Lauren Marie Presley (distant relative of Elvis Presley) which I found via a news article.  I'm not a great fan of Elvis' music but I do like her style and will look out for more in the future.

Made | Absolutely nothing this week!

Worn | I sorted out all my clothes, getting rid of the things that were too big following the weight loss and finding other items of clothing that I hadn't unpacked since I moved in last year.  They weren't unpacked because they were too small but .... {drum roll} ... they now fit!  It's like having a whole new wardrobe of clothes!
And Lastly ... I'm gradually settling in to my autumn/winter routine when there's less rushing about than in spring and summer, although December will be rather manic with all the band commitments.  I have time to take stock and enjoy the simple things in life ... candlelight ... home made curries shared with friends ... snuggling up on the sofa under a comfort blanket ... refreshing walks on cold mornings and then a steaming hot cup of coffee to warm up when I get home ... that feeling when it's blowing a storm outside but I'm warm and safe inside ... rainy days when there's no guilt about staying in and reading!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tuesday Ten

Today, the Tuesday Ten team have asked us to list 10 things we love about autumn.

1.  The colours of the leaves at this time of year.
Image courtesy of Simon Howden at

2. Conkers
© Copyright Kenneth Allen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

3. Frosty mornings
© Copyright Rob Farrow and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

4. Steaming hot drinks after being out in the cold.
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at

5. Misty mornings
Image courtesy of dan at

6.  Warming meals ... soups, stews and casseroles.
Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap at

7. Pumpkins

8.  Rainy days, warm and snug at home with a good book

9. Birthdays celebrations ... lots of autumn birthdays amongst family and friends.
Image courtesy of tiverylucky at
10. Using candles to light the room.
Image courtesy of koko-tewan at

315/365: Dead Leaf

Monday, 10 November 2014

Sunday, 9 November 2014

313/365: Heather

This Week ...

Sunday 2nd November

I finished sorting my closet and got rid of about a third of my clothes, mostly to the charity shop.  It all looks very tidy (for now!) and I can see exactly what I have to wear.  Frustratingly I have plenty, so have no real need to go clothes shopping yet ... that treat will have to wait until I lose some more weight and drop another dress size. 

I needed to print all my registers for the new term as I'm back to work tomorrow - why do I never learn?  I'm sure the printer knows when I've left it to the last minute and plays up deliberately.  I eventually got it all done but to say I was stressed was a understatement!  

Spent the evening watching The Code and phoning friends.

Monday 3rd November 

Back to work today so an early start leaving home at 7:30am. I was teaching all day and then some food shopping on the way home.  My friend cancelled for our planned drink and chat so I spent the evening in;  reading, blogging followed by some more work on tracing the family tree. I've got back to 1595 and it's looking increasing unlikely that I'll be able to go back any further with that branch of the family.

Tuesday 4th November 

The new handyman actually turned up and started work!  Today he has prepped the room ready for painting, fitted the new security viewer on the front door and fixed the brackets for hanging baskets in the garden.   

I was teaching in the afternoon and spent the evening watching the rest of The Code on iplayer and the next episode of Missing on TV.
Wednesday 5th November

Teaching first thing and then back home by 10:30.  The handyman turned up again (yay!!!) and has done the first coat of paint in the soon-to-be music room, fixed the trellis up in the garden and helped me move some heavy stuff out to the garage.

I spent the rest of the day checking exactly what food is in the fridge, freezer and cupboards to see what meals I already have prepared or can cobble together.  Then I sorted out a shopping list so that I can bulk cook and freeze enough meals to see me through until Christmas.  I'm not completely familiar with the Slimming World plan yet needed to check everything ... it's time consuming, so hope it gets easier!

Thursday 6th November
An early start to let the handyman in, then the morning completing simple sheet music parts so that the beginners can play along with the main band on some of the Christmas carols.  The handyman was finished by lunch time - it's looking good!

Teaching in the afternoon and then home for the evening.  I was supposed to be going out (for a curry night) but had a migraine threatening (probably to do with the painting), so settled for a warm bath and an early night. 

Friday 7th November  

I was poorly throughout the night and then had a full days teaching, so I was relieved to get home for a rest ... feeling completely worn out.  I watched Lewis on TV, read for a while and then had an early night. 
Saturday 8th November

The morning was taken up with band, practicing Christmas carols.  I'd hoped to get the piano moved into the newly decorated room today, but I couldn't do it on my own and everyone was busy so it's still in the living room.  Frustrating, but it's clashed with a birthday weekend so the people who will help me are concentrating their efforts on celebrating, not piano shifting!  It'll have to wait until next week.

I went for a walk along the canal (too cold for comfort really!) but it started to rain hard, so hurried back home for a soak in the bath.  Spent the rest of the day cooking, catching up with the laundry, reading, watching TV (Doctor Who followed by The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and then started watching Intruders on BBC iPlayer).  I also played the saxophone today ... first time for ages!

Linking with The Sunday Round-Up.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Friday, 7 November 2014

311/365: Raindrops

Love the Little Things - 7th November


Here are some of the little things from this week.

Read | I'm still reading 'The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks' by Rebecca Skloot but, as a bit of a change, I've also started on Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (yet another book group read).  I saw the film a couple of years ago and am hoping that my enjoyment of the book isn't affected by this - I really prefer to read the book before seeing the film so that I can image the characters for myself.
Watched | Mostly repeats of Grand Designs - I seemed to be hooked on them!  I've also watched all six episodes of The Code on BBC iPlayer and thought it was brilliant, don't know how I managed to miss it when it was originally broadcast.  Many thanks to Morgana for giving this a mention last week.

Heard | I've mainly been listening to Heart Radio as I've been driving about but nothing I've heard really stands out as worth a mention.  At home I've listened to a couple of older albums  which just seem to suit my mood - Come Away With Me by Norah Jones and Life for Rent by Dido.

Made | Mostly work related stuff, so simplified sheet music of some Christmas Carols for the beginners to play.  I've also started creating a digital scrapbook of my childhood photos which I hope to eventually get printed as a photo book ... one day.  This is still in the very early stages and most of my effort has been in understanding how to use Photoshop properly!  It's frustrating (to say the least) but I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end.

Worn | The temperature has really dropped in the last couple of days so my fluffy scarf has become an essential accessory. I haven't resorted to gloves yet (mainly because I don't like driving in gloves) but I don't think it will be long if it continues to  get colder. 
And Lastly ... it doesn't take long to get back in the routine, does it?  It's only the first week back but half term seems like a distant memory.

Thursday, 6 November 2014