Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Photo Pairs

A slightly different pair today, but one I'm very excited about.  Here's


Guess who's booked tickets to see the new Harry Potter plays next year?
Thanks to Helena for organising this weekly link up.
Oh, and just to say that I many not be online for the next few days as my laptop is going away to be rebuilt.  Hopefully, lots of the annoying little niggles will then be sorted. He's peering over my shoulder as I type this, tapping his foot - I think he wants me to hurry up!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... is feeling pleased with myself for completing all the outstanding paperwork this morning.  I actually have no right to feel so pleased with myself because it should have been done ages ago, and if I had done it back when it should have been done, it wouldn't have been preying on my mind all this time.  But it's all done now and I am feeling pleased with myself ... so there!
It's been a mostly stay at home sort of weekend.  Saturday I popped round to see Julie, who was out, but I stayed and had a long chat with her daughter No 3.  The rest of the day was spent at home sorting through some more books and things to donate to charity, and then an evening curled up on the sofa reading.
Sunday was supposed to be a day out with a friend but she was poorly and cancelled, so Sunday too was spent at home, this time catching up on TV programmes I'd missed - Unforgotten, River and From Darkness.  I'm a bit annoyed with myself for spending so much time watching the TV because it stopped me getting on with other things I wanted to do, and so much time in front of the TV left me feeling a bit brain dead! 
I didn't sleep particularly well so I'm surprised that I managed to not only wake early today, but to have the energy to tackle all the paperwork.  After I've done this post I'm sorting out my plans for the rest of the week - no teaching as it's still half term - and then tonight a friend's husband is coming round to look at my laptop to see if he can resolve some of the problems I have with other blogs, so fingers and everything else crossed pleased.  I don't plan to overdo things this week; I've already arranged lunch with a friend and book group tomorrow, and I'm off to see Mary Poppins with Julie on Sunday, so I just need to sort out a couple of other social things so that I'm not spending too much time on my own.
Sorry about the dodgy photo at the start of this post - the camera battery is charging so I couldn't do another when I realised it wasn't in focus.  Hope you all have a good week.
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Saturday, 24 October 2015

What's Happening in My World

I had no idea what to blog about today until I came across this meme on Gail's blog, which she found over on Kenlie's blog. Thanks go to both of you for the inspiration!
1 | What's the title of the last book you read?  The last book I finished was The Well by Catherine Chanter.  This was a book group choice and not my usual genre but, although it took time to get into the story and I wanted to give up, I ended up actually enjoying it.  We haven't discussed it yet so I don't know what the others thought of it.  I'm now reading Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman which was recommended to me by my friend's daughter.
2 | What's the last thing you cooked at home? A roast dinner - roast pork and all the trimmings.  I'll be out all day tomorrow and didn't want to miss out on my Sunday lunch, so I had it today instead!
3 | What is your favourite thing about fall? It has to be the colours - all those photo opportunities, not that I've had much time so far this month.  If I can have two favourites, the other one is that it's time to get all the pumpkin recipes out again - I love pumpkin soup.

4 | Share one thing that challenged you at some point over the past week. That would have to be the problems I'm having with Blogger and with accessing other blogs.  Many thanks to all of you who commented yesterday; it seems that lots of you have similar problems, which in a way made me feel better about all the frustrations.  Today, I can't access any blogs via a linky but if I use my dashboard and go to the profile of someone who has left a comment on my post, I am able read their blog but cannot get the box to leave a comment for them.  It's driving me mad! I still think I'm better off staying with Blogger for now as Wordpress comes with it's own unique frustrations (which I discovered when I set up a WP blog to record progress towards the photography degree).  Has anyone upgraded to Windows 10 yet?  I'm wondering if I should do this and whether it will solve, or add to, the issue.
5 | List 3 hobbies that you actively pursue or want to pursue. Photography has to be my number one hobby.  Can I count reading as a hobby?  That's number two, then.  And for number three, I'd have to say playing with the youth band on a Saturday morning.  All three are actively pursued.  Three more that I want to spend more time on once I retire are watercolour painting, genealogy and quilting.
6 | Have you started Christmas shopping yet? I've got as far as making a list but I haven't done any of the shopping yet. I want to get it all done by the end of November though, before the band's Christmas commitments start taking over my life!
7 | Share 3 things about the person you last spoke to today. That would be K, my friend's third daughter.  She is one of the most caring people I know, has a fantastic sense of humour and she loves reading just as much as I do.
8 | Do you remember your dreams? Not very often.  I sometimes know that I've been dreaming but can't remember very much of it when I wake.  I think I dream in black and white.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Five on Friday

A random selection today for Amy's Five on Friday.

One | I'll start by sharing some of the photos taken during last Sunday's photo walk in Lacock.  It wasn't the best day for taking photos and, as usual, Lacock was packed with tourists so we spent most of our time in the orchard and down by the ford.

Two | I met Joy for lunch yesterday, making the fatal mistake of meeting in the garden centre ... here are my impulse buys!

Three | You may, or maybe not, be interested to hear that one of the reasons for meeting for lunch was to discuss the list for the Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.  Well I'm pleased to report that the list has been agreed and will be published on December 1st.  I hope some of you will join in again this year.
Four | I'll be busy in the kitchen later today, trying out new (to me) recipes.  I'll be trying Amy's Spiced Squash and Eggs as my contribution to tonight's Eat & Go meal; three friends (so four of us in total) will all contribute food to a shared meal and, as soon as the meal is finished and the washing up done, we'll go our separate ways.  It's my turn to host the meal, and it's an enjoyable way of ensuring we don't always have to eat alone.  We do it about once a month, sometimes more often, and occasionally there's so much to talk about that it turns into a later night but usually the meal lasts about an hour and a half.
I'm trying a different recipe for lentil and vegetable soup which is bubbling away in the slow cooker and will be in the freezer by the end of the day.  And I'll be trying a new recipe for a chicken curry (using different spices) which I'll have tomorrow with the mango chutney that Joy gave me yesterday.
FiveAnd finally, is anyone else having problems with Blogger?  I keep missing posts because some updates takes absolutely ages to appear in my reader - it's always blogs which use Blogger, never Wordpress or any of the other platforms.

Also, quite often there isn't a comment box; I know someone else has already written about this (sorry, I can't remember who it was), and that person suggested that using the back arrow would make the comments box appear.  I've been trying that; sometimes successfully, but most often not. There's plenty of online help about it, so obviously I'm not the only one having this problem, but so far nothing has solved the issue.  Sometimes when there is a comments box it'll disappear half way through writing a comment; again there is help in the various forums but so far nothing has resolved this. 

If any of you have had similar problems and resolved them, I'd be very interested to hear how you did it.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, and thanks to Amy for organising this.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

Throughout the month of October I'm joining in with Mary-Lou's 31 Days of Thankful.  Here my record of the past week.

Friday Oct 16th | I am thankful for the sanctuary of my own home, that I have heat and fresh water, warm clothes and shoes, and plenty to eat and drink. The more I watch the news or read the papers, the more I am aware that this is not the case for so many people.
Saturday Oct 17th | I am thankful for the opportunity to enter one of my favourite fantasy worlds - Hogwarts and everything that is Harry Potter. A wonderful chance to let my inner child to the fore for an unforgettable experience in the company of hundreds of like minded people.  Such a fantastic day!
Sunday Oct 18th | I am thankful that I live in such a wonderful area.  I spent the afternoon taking photographs around Lacock with the camera group and, as happens every time I go there, I was struck once again by just what a beautiful village it is.

Monday Oct 19th| I am thankful for the surprise gift of home baked bread from someone that I've only met twice, but who I'm sure will become a good friend.

Tuesday Oct 20th | I am thankful for the half term holiday which starts today.  It's been a long term and I'm ready for the break.

Wednesday Oct 21st | I am thankful for a relaxing evening spent in the company of good friends.  Lots to chat about and plenty of laughter; a great way to recharge the batteries!


Thursday Oct 22nd | I am thankful for days like today; lunching with a blogging friend who I haven't seen for a while and who gifted me a yummy pot of mango chutney, catching up with all our news, and agreeing the list for the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt.  Treating myself to some new plants! Completing my 1, 2, 3 list for the day, and now having the rest of the day to do whatever I want.  It's been a thoroughly enjoyable day. I know that I'm lucky to be able to live like this and that not everyone has the luxuries that I take for granted.
Many thanks to Mary-Lou for organising this.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Photo Pairs

This week I am sharing two photos from the Making of Harry Potter tour, showing the original concept art by Dermot Power and the actual prop used in the filming.

Thanks again to Helena for organising the weekly Photo Pairs link up.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... ready for my bed after a long day at work following a hectic, but brilliant weekend.
Saturday was Harry Potter day!  Months ago, I booked myself on to the tour of the Making of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros Studios, using the local coach firm again, and I've been looking forward to it ... so much so, that I was worried that it wouldn't live up to my expectations but it was all I was hoping for and more.  Highlights of the day include seeing the original concept art, the wand making demo, the animatronics (especially Buckbeak!) and that feeling of wonder as we all walked into the Great Hall at the start of the tour.  It was amazing but I won't say any more about it for now as I plan to write a post about it.
Sunday's events had both been planned for a while as well.  The afternoon was one of the photo walks with the camera group; this one was a workshop, led my myself, to help the less experienced members of the group understand the basics of photography (composition, aperture, focus, and exposure).  We met in Lacock and spent a very pleasant couple of hours wandering around the village together; spending time like this with people who share the same hobby and understand what you're talking about is a fantastic way of relaxing.
Sunday evening was spent with friends in The King's Arms, puzzling our brains over the monthly charity quiz.  We didn't do so well this time, let down by our lack of knowledge on the picture round, which was scary characters from films; we recognised most of them but couldn't get the character name.  Still, it was fun, lots of chat, plenty of laughs, so a good evening all round.
Today I've been teaching all day.  It was tough going as the children know that they break for half term in three days time, so were on the downward spiral in terms of behaviour.  It made for a very long day!  Tonight, I've tidied the kitchen (long overdue!), cooked a warming meal and will settle down to listen to some music, then maybe watch something on the TV. 
As for the rest of the week, I'll be teaching tomorrow afternoon and then my half term break starts. I'm going to the Odeon Screen Unseen tomorrow night, going to a board games night on Wednesday and will be meeting Joy for lunch on Thursday.  It should be a fun week.
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Five on Friday | Love the Little Things

A combined post this week, merging Love the Little Things and Five on Friday.
Read | I've just finished reading The Well by Catherine Chanter, the choice of one of the book groups I belong to.  It was a bit of a slow start but I'm glad I stuck with it, as in the end I really enjoyed it.  I've now started Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman; this one was recommended by my friend's daughter, but I haven't read enough of it yet to say whether I like it or not.
Watched | Last night I went to see an NT Live screening of Hamlet, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.  I'm still undecided about the actual staging of the play but he was absolutely amazing in the role.

Heard | I've been listening to the Undisclosed podcasts and the Serial Dynasty podcasts, catching up with the latest events in the Adnan Syed case. I admit to being fascinated with the case but a big part of my brain still struggles with the 'entertainment' value in a true life murder case. 
Made | Nothing out of the ordinary ... chilli, chicken casserole, fish pie and some homemade pizza. 
Worn | I seem to be wearing the same things all the time and I'm fed up with it.  I've decided that once I finally stop work, I'm going to treat myself to a whole load of new clothes more suited to my new lifestyle!
And Lastly ... I have a busy weekend planned.  I'm off to the 'Warner Bros Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter' tomorrow, and on Sunday I'm doing a photo walk with friends and then meeting with other friends in the evening for our monthly quiz night.  Hope you all have a good weekend. 
Thanks go out to Amy, who organises Five on Friday, and Morgana, who organises Love the Little Things.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

Throughout the month of October I'm joining in with Mary-Lou's 31 Days of Thankful.  Here my record of the past week.

Friday Oct 9th | I am thankful for an unexpected gift of home grown chillies. A lady I don't know very well had heard that I was starting to cook my own curries and picked a selection of different chillies she'd grown herself for me to use - an unexpected kindness that meant so much more than the monetary value of the gift.
Saturday Oct 10th | I am thankful that the final reminder of all the paraphernalia we purchased in response to my late partner's declining health has now gone.  I've finally sold the remaining rise and recline chair and the relief I feel at its departure is immense.
Sunday Oct 11th | I am thankful for all the efforts by professional genealogists, The Church of the Latter Day Saints and so many amateur genealogists to convert hundreds of years of family history documentation, providing easy access to the online genealogy records which allow me to trace my family trees in the comfort of my own home. 

Monday Oct 12th| I am thankful that my Monday schools have been receptive to the requested change to the schedule.  I now have a later start and only have a 45 minute wait between schools rather than the previous 3 hour wait.  So much better!

Tuesday Oct 13th | I am thankful that I've heard from a blogging friend I haven't seen for ages, and that we are meeting for lunch next week.

Wednesday Oct 14th | I am thankful to hear that another blogging friend has completed the course of treatment and is looking to the future with positivity.


Thursday Oct 15th | I am thankful for a beautiful October day with a blue sky and fluffy clouds, and for having the time to be out and about and enjoy the autumn changes.
Many thanks to Mary-Lou for organising this.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Photo Pairs

In the kitchen this time with ...


Thanks to Helena for organising this link up every week.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

I'm Following a Tree | October 2015

Better late than never, here's my October photos of the tree I've been following all year.  These photos were taken last week.

The tree is moving into the next phase of its cycle ...

it has dispersed some of its seeds ...
although there are still some male catkins that are in the early stages of seed development ...

The leaves are changing colour ...
... and there are plenty that are ready to fall.  The grass below the tree is covered in fallen leaves.

Here's the monthly look at the bark - still as beautiful as ever ...

 And finally, a look up through the canopy ...

 Linking with Lucy at Loose and Leafy.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... tired after a busy weekend and glad that I don't need to work this afternoon (the children I'm supposed to teach are away on a residential trip).
Saturday morning was taken up with band and we had yet another new starter.  Numbers are very low so it is encouraging to see that the presentations I've been doing to the primary schools are starting to bring in new players.
Saturday afternoon was supposed to be a stay-in-the-warm-and-read-my-book afternoon, but it ended up being a let's-rearrange-the-stuff-in-the-garage sort of afternoon.  Julie turned up with her mum, who bought the rise and recliner chair that I hadn't managed to sell when I sold the previous house, so it involved lots of shifting around to get the chair out .... and then of course, although in theory there was more space, somehow everything didn't fit back in properly.  I later realised it was because Julie had added another desk, but at the time I couldn't work out why it wouldn't fit!
Saturday evening was spent tucked up in the warm and watching TV, although I couldn't really tell you watch I watched.  Mostly flicking between the channels and getting bored with each programme - it made me realise why I don't watch it too often!
Beetlecrushers, a clog and step dance group performing at the Wells' Food Festival
Sunday I went with two friends to the Wells' Food Festival, where we spent about three hours sampling everything.  I bought some chilli relish and a couple of bars of chilli chocolate, and also a Little Jack Horner sausage roll which is the best I've ever tasted (and that includes my mum's cooking ... I never thought I'd say that because her ones were to die for!).  Bini, who ran the Indian cookery course I went on, had a stall there so it was good to catch up with her and to hear her news.  We tried so many samples that we didn't need to buy a meal!
It was a good day, lovely autumn weather, great company, but I was so glad to get home.  I was absolutely shattered and my knees were killing me.  I got straight in the bath for a long soak, which helped, and then I settled down for an evening of reading.  The reality was that I fell asleep on the sofa and then struggled upstairs in the early hours of the morning and slept the rest of the night through.  Thankfully I had a later start today, so didn't have to get up too early.
It's a perfect October day out there so once I've published this post I'm going to potter around in the garden and tidy up the area behind the garage. 
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Five on Friday

For my Five on Friday this week, I'm sharing some of the changes I've made as I move slowly towards retirement.  I'm still waiting for most of my teaching commitments to be passed on to a new teacher but a couple of schools have already been passed to one of the local teachers and other schools have been rescheduled to free up some more time.

One | I've rearranged my teaching days so that I now have Wednesday and Thursdays completely free.  At the moment, I still have half days on Monday and Tuesday, and all day Friday but that will eventually decrease to Tuesday plus one other day, for two hours each day.  I won't decide which other day to teach until I've investigated what's on during the daytime that I may like to do.  This has been the first week of this arrangement so it's too early to feel the benefits but I have enjoyed my days off and I really, really love the fact that I now only have one early start!
Two | In my Tuesday afternoon school the children have free choice to play board games after they've finished their class music lesson with me.  They've always wanted me to stay and play a game with them but up until this week I've always had to rush off to get to another school.  However, now I don't have to rush off so was able to stay and play a couple of games with them and I had a great time, even though they completely slaughtered me at Connect Four! Apparently next time we're going to play chess!  
Three | On Wednesday I went with a friend to an Odeon Silver Screen event.  This is restricted to the over 55s and for the bargain price of £3, you get to see a recent film which in our case was  one that was first released back in June 2015.  The price also included coffee and biscuits, and the parking was free, so all in all it was a cheap morning's entertainment!  We saw Mr Holmes starring Ian McKellen, which I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend a viewing if you haven't already seen it. The Silver Screen cinema trips have definitely made the list and I'll be looking out for more films in the future ... at that price it'd be rude not to!
Four | On Thursday I went for a morning walk and ending up buying some cheap vegetables from an honesty stall outside one of the house bordering the marina, then it was back home to cook it all up.  Not quite what I'd planned but I now have six portions of warming vegetable soup for the freezer, so I'm happy with that.  On my walk I checked the village notice board and also the boards outside the village hall and the club, and I  was pleasantly surprised to see there is plenty happening locally during the daytime; line dancing, WI, pilates, yoga, and also a walking group.  I've thought about joining the WI before but it never worked out because of teaching commitments, so I will try that again.  I've always fancied having a go at line dancing so that's also a possibility, but I'll stick to the therapeutic yoga classes I've seen in Bradford on Avon as I think they'll be more manageable for me.
Five | I've planned a series of photography mini projects.  This is really to get me out and about but also to test the waters and make the decision whether to continue with the photography degree or not.  I'm searching for a location fairly close to home for the first one project, which is going to be all about dramatic skies, but the location is everything, and so far I'm not having much luck finding what I have in mind. There is nothing within walking distance, so the next option is a short drive with easy roadside parking ... and that's as far as I've got. Fingers crossed on this one!

Thanks go out to Amy for organising this link up.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

Throughout the month of October I'm joining in with Mary-Lou's 31 Days of Thankful.  Here are the things for the past week.

Friday Oct 2nd | I am thankful for the enthusiasm of some of the children I taught today and for having the opportunity to share in their achievements. The recorder group has been struggling to learn a new piece since we started it back in September but they've stuck at it, and today they managed it.  They were ecstatic, rightly so, as they haven't found it easy but today their hard work paid off.
Saturday Oct 3rd | I am thankful that I live in a country where we have the different seasons of the year and that I can experience what the seasonal changes bring to my life.  This morning it was a misty start to the day ... autumn is announcing its presence. 
Sunday Oct 4th | I am thankful that I have, and can afford to run, the central heating system.  With virtually no effort on my part I have the ability to keep the house warm and cosy. Yes, the heating went on today!

Monday Oct 5th | I am thankful for the support of my friends.  They knew I wasn't feeling well, so turned up with their evening meal which they shared with me, washed up and put everything away, and then left so that I could have an early night.  Words can't really express how much this meant to me.

Tuesday Oct 6th | I am thankful for the internet as I know that my life would be immeasurably different without it.  Having access to the internet keeps me connected, even though I live alone, and enhances my life in so many ways, the biggest being the friends I have made through writing this blog.

Wednesday Oct 7th | I am thankful for a relatively pain free day ... the first one for ages.


Thursday Oct 8th | I am thankful that I am able to read and through reading, can lose myself in the lives and worlds of the characters I meet in the books I choose.
I've been surprised by how quickly the daily task of thinking and identifying something to be thankful for has impacted positively on my mood. Many thanks to Mary-Lou for organising this.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Photo Pairs

I went out to take photos of the tree I've been following all year and took these two photos for this week's Photo Pairs ...


The tree I'm following is the one on the right in the top photo - I still have to go back to take the photos for my tree following post as I only managed these two before the battery went! 
The path in the top picture leads further into the estate and the one in the second photo leads towards the primary school (if you go to the left) or to the far end of the marina and then on to the canal (if you go to the right).
Thanks to Helena for organising the weekly Photo Pairs.

Monday, 5 October 2015

5 in 5 | Raindrops!

It's been raining most of the morning so during a break in the downpour I rushed around the garden photographing the raindrops.

 Thanks to Sandie for organising 5 in 5.

Me on Monday

Me on Monday ... is having an up and down sort of day.  Getting the downs out of the way first - I got soaked getting from the car to my first school and again when leaving, so I've had to come home to change my clothes.  I'm also struggling with technology today; the iPod jammed during my first lesson so I've had to manage without backing tracks, and now I've tried to reset it at home but the computer doesn't seem to be able to recognise that an iPod is attached.  It's a problem for tonight I think!
There have been some ups to compensate though.  I went out in the garden, between rain showers, to take the photos for 5 in 5 and found that one of the clematis has a couple of flowers. This one didn't perform very well at all this year back in the spring when it was supposed to flower so this is a bonus, though I hope it doesn't affect next year's show. I've arrived home to some lovely mail from friends who live abroad; I've had a quick look but I'm saving them to read when I get home later this afternoon.
I had a quiet weekend.  Apart from band practice, when we had another two new starters, I didn't do anything much. We'd stayed behind after the children left to sort out some of the music but I kept feeling faint so had to go on home and decided that I needed to take it easy.  I was supposed to do a photo walk yesterday but that was cancelled at the last minute which I was quite relieved about as I wanted some time to myself.  I've been reading mostly, but also writing a couple of letters to penfriends and planning a series of photo projects for myself.  I also had a think about possible prompts for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt (before I liaise with Joy), but haven't got very far with that yet. 
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Saturday, 3 October 2015

The Year in Books | October 2015

It's been another good month for reading, finishing five books during September.
The first two were book group selections; one group chose Still Alice by Lisa Genova and the other went for I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh.  From the reviews I was expecting to really enjoy Still Alice but I was a little disappointed by it.  I enjoyed it up to a point but, for me, it was lacking in any depth of feeling by most of the character and I was frustrated by the lack of believable emotion in the book.  I Let You Go, however, lived up to expectations and was a thoroughly good read, and I didn't see the first twist in the tale coming at all.  I read this one in a day and was completely wrapped up in the story.
I finished off the Hunger Games trilogy with Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  I didn't enjoy these two as much as I did the first one but am glad to have read the entire story, although I don't think I'll bother with the films!
My final read for the month was selected at random from the bookcase and was The Norfolk Mystery by Ian Sansom.  Set in the 1930s, I think the main character was supposed to be eccentric and amusing but I just thought he was completely irritating.  Add that to the fact that there wasn't really a murder or a crime to detect, and the resulting story was a disappointment.  I'd had high hopes for this one as it's the start of a series, but I won't bother with the rest.

I've chosen Personal by Lee Child to read in October and I'll also be reading The Well by Catherine Chanter, which is a book group choice.

Linking with Circle of Pine Trees

Friday, 2 October 2015

Five on Friday

I'm joining in with Amy's 'Five on Friday' and because it's the first week of the month, I'm sharing five intentions about what I hope to accomplish during October.  But before I do that, here's the update on my September list: 
  • Finish tidying the garden and take the rubbish over to the skip.  Draw up a plan for the stone patio I'd like to replace the slippery decking and arrange for some quotes. Done, but I'm still waiting for a couple of quotes to come in, before I can make any decisions.
  • Complete the (boring) financial things that need to be done.  Done and I'm negotiating my retirement date!
  • Make a list of days out and activities from Sept to the run up to Christmas. Done - here's the list  
  • Send some unwanted items to a charity shop.  Done; I didn't take anything to the charity shop but I donated some more books to the friends of the hospital where Ced was treated, for their fund raising.
  • Set aside some time to create and update a Flickr page for my photos.  I've started this but it's going to take ages!  The Flickr page now exists but I haven't loaded any photos yet.  I'm still editing the ones I want to add to the page but it may have to wait until I finish working.
So, onto my October intentions:
One Start playing the piano again - I haven't played regularly for ages and I miss doing it. I still have to work hard at learning a new piece so my standard of playing drops off really quickly when I don't practice. I know I can avoid that frustration by playing every day, I enjoy it when I do and it's a great way for me to relax ... so why aren't I doing it?  I'm hoping that if I focus on this, by the end of the month I'll be back in the routine of regular playing.
Two | Get in the kitchen and try some new recipes.  I keep saving bookmarks to recipes I think I'll like and then never do anything with them!  I'm trying to get my recipes organised (inspired by Ella's progress) but have let my own efforts slip recently.  I hope to try out two savoury meals and two desserts/cakes this month, which have to be selected from my saved recipes - the last thing I want to do is search for any new ones as that'll just add to the problem!
Three | Get in touch with an old friend I've lost contact with.
Four | Get some quotes for the bigger (i.e. expensive) work I like to do in the house.  The boiler will need be to be replaced soon, I think, and if that's the case I'd like to see how much it will cost to have it moved up to the airing cupboard as this will give me some much needed extra storage in the kitchen. I want to get the rest of the rooms decorated and look at the cost of replacement sofas.  And maybe a new front door.
Five | List a minimum of five things for sale on eBay, Gumtree or Amazon.  But hopefully more! I'm not sure whether the lack of progress is due to not wanting to let go of his things, or just lack of effort on my part.  I know it has to go - I don't really want it and don't have room for all of it - and I know I'll feel better once I have the space that will be left, but letting it go just makes it all seem so final.
I'll review my progress in the first week of November.
Thanks to Amy for organising this.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Thankful Thursday

I'm joining in with Mary-Lou's 31 Days of Thankful.  This will run throughout October and we'll post the things we are thankful for every Thursday ... starting with today:
Oct 1st | I am thankful for the freedom and stability I have in my life.  I have been reading the recent posts on the Humans of New York Facebook page, where the author is currently photographing and telling the stories of refugees.  Their stories are horrific and I am eternally grateful that I live in a country where I will never have to experience the things they have gone through.
Thanks to Mary-Lou for organising this.

My Reading Habits

Yesterday Sian,  who blogs at From High in the Sky, shared her responses to the questions in the 'reading habits' meme and tagged any of her readers who wanted to join in.

Reading is a big part of my life and I can't remember a time when I didn't enjoy losing myself in a story; I don't understand people who don't love reading!  Here's my answers ...

Do you have a certain place at home to read? | I live on my own so I don't ever need to look for a quiet place where I won't be disturbed.  Currently, my favourite reading place is the sofa in the living room; snuggled up under a blanket, and shutting out the world.  A close second is reading in bed and my third place is reading, and dropping books, in the bath which is why I have lots of wrinkled books about the house. Sometimes in the summer, when it's not too hot, I sit out on the decking to read during the golden hour.

A bookmark or a random piece of paper? | Definitely a bookmark.  I have lots of them - it's one of the things I buy as mementoes of my day's out. I've never understood how people can use scrappy bits of paper to mark their place, or - the biggest sin of all - how people can fold the corner of the page. 
Can you stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter or number of pages? | Yes, I can stop reading if I have to, for example to start work or for an appointment,  and I always find it really easy to pick up where I left off.  However, I do have a tendency to read into the early hours of the morning to finish a good book even though I know I will be sleep deprived the next day; I never start out intending to read so late but I keep allowing myself one more chapter, and then I get so close to the end that it seem silly to stop!

Do you eat or drink while reading? | Yes, and unfortunately some of my books bear the evidence of this.  I am always really careful with library books and borrowed books though.

Do you watch TV or listen to music while reading? | Not now.  I only turn the TV on if there is something I want to watch and I mostly listen to music when I'm driving.  In my previous home, when Ced was still with me, he always had the TV on and I just learnt to block it out and carry on with my book.

One book at a time or several at once? | Usually several.  I always keep a book in the car to read when I have time between teaching commitments and there are usually a couple of books on the go in the house. I'm usually working my way through a couple of non-fiction books as well, and I choose to read the non-fiction or fiction depending on my mood at the time.

Reading at home or everywhere? | I can read anywhere ... it's something I do regularly.  I always carry a book with me on day trips and read on the coach, or during breaks if I'm driving myself and I take a book if I know I'll have to wait somewhere such as the doctor's surgery or for hospital appointments.

Reading aloud or silently in your head? | I read silently for myself.  Reading aloud as a adult has only been a feature of babysitting or in schools when I worked as a TA.  I did enjoy reading aloud way back when I was in senior school but it's never occurred to me to continue as an adult.

Do you ever read ahead or skip pages? | No, never. One of my friends always reads the ending of the book first to see if she's going to like it, but I've never understood why she does it. Reading ahead would definitely spoil a book for me.

Do you ever write in books? | Never!  I didn't even mark the actual books when I was doing my A levels, and don't get me started on people who write in library books!

So that's all about my reading habits, except to say it has to be a proper book, not a Kindle.  I'd love to hear about you so if you'd like to join in, then you are tagged.  Many thanks to Sian for sharing this.