Monday, 29 February 2016

Memorandum Monday

This is my first day of feeling well after being completely poleaxed by a nasty bout of flu. I was out of bed for the first time on Saturday, but actually just spent most of the day asleep on the sofa!  Sunday was a bit better and I managed to go out for a very short walk, just to get some fresh air. Today I was up for a trip into town to bank some money, and also indulge in some retail therapy.
I treated myself to some fresh flowers (see photo) and I still had some Christmas vouchers to spend so I treated myself to some new books. I've started reading 'The Versions of Us' by Laura Barnett which explores the idea that there are tiny factors, events or decisions that determine how our lives evolve and looks at how our lives may have been different if that factor, event or decision had turned out differently.  It's sounds quite profound, but it's an easy to read fiction book which follows three different versions of the lives of the main characters, determined by the different outcomes of one tiny event.  I'm enjoying it so far, but I only bought it this morning so I haven't really got very far!
The other new books are 'The Children Act' by Ian McEwan, about a high court judge who has to make a decision about a teenager who is refusing urgently needed medical treatment on religious grounds.  Next up is 'The Lie Tree' by Frances Hardinge. It's the story of how Faith tries to solve her father's mysterious death and of the strange tree in her father's belongings, which feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.  Finally, I bought 'A Spool of Blue Thread' by Anne Tyler, which tells the lives of four generations of a family who have always lived in the same house.
I don't have anything else new to report so I'll give you all a wave and be back to see you tomorrow with a link up for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt.
Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

On Thursday

having a peaceful day at home, intentionally relaxing and doing very little
reviewing the choices I made yesterday when I was looking for furniture online; still liking my choices, which is a good sign
arranging for another company to quote to replace the kitchen; the initial quote came in at £8200 (not including labour costs), which is ridiculously expensive for such a small room
dreaming about holidays: where to go?; activity holiday or relaxing on the beach?; in a group or on my own?; this country or abroad?  - so many decisions!
reading on a kindle app on the iPad, and not really enjoying the experience - give me a proper book every time
looking forward to tonight - going out for a meal and quiz with friends

Wednesday, 17 February 2016


More arrows again this week (also for the scavenger hunt).  These were taken in London last Saturday using my little snappy camera.

 As usual, thanks go to Helena for organising the weekly SNAP link up.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Memorandum Monday

Hello to everyone taking part in Sian's Memorandum MondayIt's been a weekend of 'firsts' and 'new' things, so I have lots to tell you ... I'll keep it brief, though!

I went up to London on Saturday to visit the Museum of London, where there is currently an exhibition of items from the Metropolitan Police's Black Museum.  Before I tell you about that I'll get one of my firsts/new learning out of the way, as I finally cottoned on to something that everyone else probably knows ... just understand that I can be slow on the uptake sometimes! 
I travelled up to London on the coach and then had to get the tube from the drop off point to the museum.  I've always queued to get a ticket to travel on the tube but never again, as on Saturday I discovered that it was possible to travel without an actual ticket but to use my bank card to make contactless payments. Told you I was slow on the uptake!
Seeing the Crime Museum exhibition adds three more 'firsts' to the weekend's tally.  It's the first time I've been to the Museum of London and also the first time I've seen the Black Museum exhibits (as it isn't usually open to the general public).  I have a fascination with true life crime stories, so when I saw that the police were allowing the public to see some of their Black Museum exhibits, I booked my ticket for a visit during half term (so I didn't have to miss band practice!) and ticked the days off on the calendar.  The exhibition was fascinating, with displays of evidence retained from famous cases such as Haigh (the Acid Bath Murders), Christie (10 Rillington Place), the Kray Twins, and Dr Crippen.  Although the stories are gruesome in their own right, most of the exhibits were of things that had already been shown in documentaries on TV or been photographed and recorded in books about the crimes.  There were no graphic photos or descriptions, which I admit I was relieved about.
Being able to visit the Black Museum was one of the things on our joint wish list, but which never happened.  One of Ced's cousins was in the police and could have organised a visit, but it was one of those things you mean to do but never get around to.  This trip was the first time I've gone ahead to complete something from our joint list, so as much as I enjoyed the experience, there was a touch of sadness too.  He would have loved it.
My next first is a different sort of experience, also in London on the same day.  After the museum I wandered around St Paul's and then headed back to Grosvenor Square to wait for the coach pick up.  I'd intended to do a bit of shopping in Oxford Street but couldn't summon up the enthusiasm once I got there, so I settled in a lovely little café in Duke Street to recharged the batteries and wait in the warm and dry until it was time to get back on the coach.  The café was in a basement and although I've been in a basement flat and a basement office before, this is the first time I've been in a basement café.  So I spent a pleasant hour drinking some of the best coffee I've had for a long time and watching the feet and lower legs of people walking along the pavement at street level.
My final something new was on Sunday.  Once a month I go with friends to a charity quiz held in one of the local pubs.  It's been the same crowd of people in all the time we've been doing this but last night there were two new faces who I met for the first time.  One of them I felt I known all my life, we had loads in common and have arranged to meet for coffee and a chat later in the week, so my final something new is meeting a new friend.
Hope you all have a good week and that the fine weather continues.  Thanks go to Sian for organising this link up.

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Little Things

Read | I'm reading Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durrant.  I've only read the first three chapters, but so far so good.
Watched | I went to see Spotlight last night.  It's the true story of how the massive scandal of child abuse within the Catholic Church in Boston was investigated and revealed by the Boston Globe newspaper. It's an excellent film and I'd recommend seeing it.  The subject matter is obviously harrowing but it is handled well in the film, and whilst there are a few verbal descriptions of the abuse it is not actually acted out in detail on the screen, which was a relief.
Heard | Quite a lot of podcasts reporting on the latest happenings in the Adnan Syed case.
Made | I made bread on Monday, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, tomato soup on Wednesday and a vegetable curry on Thursday. 
Worn | The gloves and scarf have come out again, now that it has turned colder.
And Lastly ... This is what I'm doing for Lent this year ...
I found it on the Dorothy House Facebook page.  Dorothy House is the local hospice and I'll be donating the forty items to one of their charity shops. 

Thanks to Morgana for organising this weekly link up.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Snap | Arrows

I've been on the lookout for arrows to photograph for the scavenger hunt.  Here's the ones I've found so far which I'm showing today for Helena's Snap meme.

 Thanks for organising this Helena.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt | Puddles, Berries, Arrow

Photos from Castle Combe again, but this time it's some for the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt.
No 6 | a puddle, all of which could double up for a couple of the other prompts as the puddles have reflections of either a chimney (no. 16) or trees which have lost their leaves (no. 9).

 No 7 | berries, a choice of orange or red ...

and finally, No 19 | an arrow, although to be honest, I'm not sure if this can really be classed as an arrow or is it just a pointer?

Monday, 8 February 2016

Memorandum Monday

Waving to you on this rainy Monday and hoping you all survived last night's winds courtesy of Storm Imogen.
This is another photo of Castle Combe, especially for Sian.  It was taken yesterday, standing by the side of the Market Cross to look back down The Street.  The structure you can see in the centre of the photo is the remains of the buttercross; dating from medieval times, the buttercross is where the villagers used to gather to buy locally produced butter, milk and eggs.
Driving to Castle Combe is also my 'first' for this week.  I've lost count of the number of times I've been to the village but as I was leaving home yesterday, I realised that I've always been the passenger in the car and have never actually driven there myself.  I had to resort to the dreaded satnav to get there, which did its usual creative route, so I suppose another 'first' is seeing parts of Wiltshire I've never seen before!
Thanks go to Sian at From High in the Sky for organising this meme.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

5 in 5 | Castle Combe

Here are my photos for this month's 5 in 5, kindly organised by Sandie.
I'd organised a photo walk around Castle Combe and that's where these were taken.  First thing this morning it was raining so hard that I thought we'd have to cancel but we decided to meet for coffee anyway and were lucky enough to arrive in the village just as it stopped raining and the sun came out.  The rain held off for the next hour, so we all managed to get a good selection of photos.  Most of the ones I took were for the Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt but this selection for 5 in 5 was taken as we walked into the village from where we'd parked the car.
I love this sign and have been meaning to photograph it for ages ... and now I have!

Walking up through the main street  (simply named 'The Street'!) I saw this house name ... I think I'd feel completely at home living in Reading Room Cottage.

Reading Room Cottage is in this rank of cottages, mainly photographed for the chimney pots.

Taken in the Market Place.  You can see the church behind the cottage but unfortunately we couldn't photograph there today as there was a service in progress.

This rank of cottages is on the other side of the Market Place and is where we tried, unsuccessfully, to photograph a robin. It was on the ivy clad wall in the bottom left hand corner of this photo, but it didn't want to play nicely today so we all ended up with blurred shots of it disappearing off the edge of the shot.

Rain stopped play at this stage, so it was back to the pub to share our morning's efforts with each other.  It never fails to amaze me how we can walk around together yet all manage to see different things.  I was chilled through so sitting in front of a roaring log fire with a huge mug of hot chocolate was a thoroughly pleasant way to round of the morning.
Thanks for organising this photo meme, Sandie.

Friday, 5 February 2016

The Little Things

Read | I'm reading The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins for my book group.  In between I'm reading 'What if Harry Potter, the Chosen One, had turned out to be a squib', part of a series of 'what if' rewrites of the HP books by a fan.
Watched | I haven't really watched much lately and I've had to rack my brains to come up with an answer ... I watched the first of the new series of 'Vera' and, for the first time in ages, I watched the latest Silent Witness.
Heard | Mostly old favourites ... Bowie, of course, and lots of 70s and 80s pop music. 
Made | I've been preparing music folders for the new starters at the band.  An intake is usually only about 5 children but this time, following the presentations I did in some of the local schools, there were 24 - all keen and eager to start learning to play.  We didn't have anywhere near enough folders for them, so that's what I've been doing with my time.
Worn | It's been a black and white sort of day - I need to get on and catch up with the laundry so that I've got some brighter colours to wear!
And Lastly ... I've bought some spelt flour to have a go at making my own bread.  We used to have a bread maker which Ced used to keep us supplied with fresh bread.  Well, I no longer have the bread maker (no room for it now), so will be making it from scratch myself, using my mum's recipe. I've found the loaf tins, bought the rest of the ingredients, so there's no more excuses ... Monday will be set aside for bread making!

Thanks to Morgana for organising this weekly link up.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook | Thursday 4th Feb 2016

Outside my window ...  it's pitch black. 
I am thinking ... about the cabinets, etc, I want in the revamped kitchen.  It's been measured and I'm going to see the designs next week.  It's so small that there's not really any scope for changing the layout but I'm determined to get rid of the gloss finish cabinet doors I currently have!

I am thankful ... for the mild weather we are having. 

In the kitchen ... the cupboards are bare - it's time to restock.

I am wearing ... blue skirt and cardigan with a white blouse - I've been out for a coffee with a friend and I haven't changed my clothes yet.

I am creating ... lists, lists and more lists ... all to do with the improvements I want to do around the house and garden.

I am going ... to have an early night.  I'm suffering from the January/February blues, am not sleeping well and am tired all the time.

I am wondering ... whether it is time to change my car. The speedometer is playing up now, so it has to go back in the garage next week for that to be sorted. 

I am reading ... The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Actually, it's a re-read for one of my book groups, which I've read a couple of times before and I'm still enjoying on my third time.  I've just finished The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer for my other book group. It wasn't at all what I was expecting but I did enjoy it and read it straight through in one sitting ... I thought the ending was too rushed and didn't match the pace of the rest of the book.
I am hoping ...  to find a daytime choir/choral group to sing with.  I'm on the waiting list for one group, but will keep looking just in case that doesn't work out.
I am looking forward to ... a trip to the Museum of London to see an exhibition of the Metropolitan Police's Crime Museum.  I'm going next weekend.
I am learning ... all about Canon camera lenses.  I'm trying to decide which one (or two!) to buy.
Around the house ...  it looks like a bomb has hit it.  There are piles of stuff in every room as I sort through and organise what is going to the charity shop next.  Most of Julie's stuff has gone now so I have access to the smallest bedroom again and will be moving in there while I have the master bedroom decorated. 
I am pondering ... whether to get Netflix.  I don't watch a lot of TV but I would like to watch some of the older series I missed and also catch up on films I've yet to see.  I had a quick look on a friend's Netflix account to see what's currently available and it is tempting.

One of my favourite things ... chili hot chocolate - my latest discovery!
A few plans for the rest of the week ...
  • Friday: teaching for a couple of hours, the rest of the time at home sorting out piles of books for disposal
  • Saturday: band practice in the morning followed by an afternoon with Julie, supporting her as she chooses her new kitchen
  • Sunday: photo walk in Castle Combe with friends
  • Monday: nothing planned
  • Tuesday: teaching in the afternoon and the book group meeting in the evening
  • Wednesday: nothing planned
  • Thursday: nothing planned
A peek into my day ... this morning was spent catching up with some paperwork for the band, followed by coffee and cake with a friend this afternoon and an evening at home doing nothing very much at all. 
A favourite quote for today ...
"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple." Dr Seuss

Monday, 1 February 2016

Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt | Link Up

Sorry, I'm a day late with this post - I've lost track of the days and the end of the month took me by surprise!

We're two months into the scavenger hunt, so I'm posting this linky so we can see how everyone is getting on. 
I have three photos to show today, but will be back with another post as soon as blogger starts to play nicely and lets me add the rest of my photos.
No 1 | a robin redbreast
No 4 | a star (from a beautiful Christmas card made by Miriam)

No 5 | a snowman

I've taken photos for most of the prompts now so I just have to find the time to upload them.  I still have to sort out one for a windy day, which is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be. 

How are you all getting on?  Please add a link to your scavenger hunt posts so that we can see your photos and leave lots of encouraging comments! It's not too late to join in.  The closing date for the Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt is March 21st 2016 - click here to find the full list.