Thursday, 30 June 2016

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt | June Link Up

A few more photos for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt organised by Rinda as today the linky goes live for the end of June 'let's see how everyone is getting on' link up.

My previous posts for the 2016 hunt can be seen here and here.

No 3 | a skeleton, bone or x-ray, a skull and crossbones found on a pirate chest in my Friday school

No 6 | caravan, two authentic gypsy caravans.  I saw them making camp by the side of the road and asked if I could photograph their caravans.

No 17 | twins, me with my twin sister, aged 6.  I'm the one with the gappy smile on the right of the photo. 

June Scavenger Hunt

It's the last day of June so it's time to share my photos for Hawthorn Spellweaver's Photo Scavenger Hunt.  I had fun finding all the photos this time.

part of a stone wall

taken during a lunch stop on the drive over to Blacklands 

the first blue sky for days

a line of trees on the far side of a field full of buttercups

the River Wylye, which flows through the garden at Jobs Mill

abandoned, but a great subject for photos with all the iron wheels left outside

not mine sadly, but showing lots of promise for a colourful display

one of the many field gates passed through on a local walk

new growth taking root on an old tree

my own choice
enjoying the golden flowers 

Thanks to Hawthorn and her eldest son for the list.  I'm looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016


It's photos of flowerpot people for Helena's SNAP meme this week.  I saw the first one in a village I pass through on my way to a friend's house and knew I already had the other two images to complete the set.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Memorandum Monday

Waving to all my fellow Mondayers and hoping you're all well.  

I only really have one new thing to tell you about this week. I ran the annual games morning at band on Saturday so needed to come up with some new team building games for 8 to 13 year olds, which were suitable for all abilities and fun for both girls and boys. So I spent a good part of the week online researching games for the Saturday morning event and during the course of the week I learnt how to play lots of new to me team games. Luckily, there are plenty of ideas out there so a noisy, fun time was had by all. I think all the sweets and chocolate added to their enjoyment as well!

Thanks to Sian for organising this.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the weather improves this week as I have people coming to measure up for the garden landscaping.  Hope you all have a good week.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I finished reading 'Summer of Ghosts' by P.D. Viner.  I'm glad I finished it but I don't think it's made it to my list of books to recommend.  I also read 'Gray Mountain' by John Grisham - I haven't read any of his for a while and I enjoyed this story.  I'm now about half way through 'Scaredy Cat' by Mark Billingham - I've watched a TV adaptation of this a few years ago and can vaguely remember the story, but not enough to spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Watched | No, nothing again this week. 

Heard | Nothing that stands out - I've had the radio on in the car but at home have opted to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Made | I've made a huge dent in sorting the stuff in the spare bedrooms.  I'm about half way through the first attempt and am on track for over half the stuff to be donated to charity.  

Worn | I've lost over a stone (14lbs) now, so am able to wear some of the smaller sizes in my wardrobe - nothing new, but I haven't worn any of it for so long, it feels like it's new!

And Lastly ... today, I booked return train tickets, a 2 night stay in a London hotel and a ticket to see Les Miserables, all for the grand sum of £11 ..... plus some really old Thomas Cook vouchers which I won years ago and forgot about when Ced's illness took hold of our lives.  I found them again when I was decluttering and, to my surprise found that they were still valid.  So the July trip to London is sorted and I have enough vouchers left for another trip later in the year.  See ... decluttering does have its benefits!

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


A sequence in four photos for Helena's SNAP meme this week.

This is the clematis I'd thought was killed off in one of the many storms last winter - it was pulled off its trellis and uprooted, so I hacked off the majority of the growth and stuck the roots back in the soil (literally ... it was pitch black, pouring with rain and I could hardly stay upright in the wind) and somehow, it has survived.

Here are four of it's stages of life, all on the plant on the same day.

 Thanks to Helena for organising this every week.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Memorandum Monday

I've been racking my brain to come up with a 'first' or something 'new' that's happened in the last week but I'm struggling to think of anything much. I've only thought of one thing and to be honest, it's not a completely 'first' time for me, but is a 'first' time in a particular school (although I have done this before in other schools I've taught in).

I teach recorder to four year groups in this school and I arranged for them to play in assembly to the rest of the school.  These four year groups have all been learning their own part of a multi-part tune and the assembly was the first time they had all played it together to get the full effect.  All went well and they did a fine performance.

One of the parts is an ostinato (a repeated pattern of hand claps, words, and foot stamps) which was performed by the year 1s.  I then invited the children that I don't teach to join in on the ostinato, so with 3 year groups playing the recorder parts and 4 year groups performing the ostinato, the entire school (approx 260 children) including the teachers and TAs performed the same piece of music together. As I said earlier, I've done this before in other schools but this was the first time in this particular school. 

I've nothing else to write about so I'll wish you all a good week whatever you are doing.

Linking with Sian at From High in the Sky.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

All about ... this Summer

I thought I'd planned for a relatively quite summer but seeing the list of all the things I've booked/arranged, that doesn't seem to be the case.  It will be a fun summer so fingers crossed for some sunshine.

  • see the Simon King photography exhibition at Longleat
  • visit The Old Mill at Ramsbury
  • visit Tewksbury
  • spend a few days in London, when I plan to
    • see the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
    • see Les Miserables
    • see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, parts 1 & 2
    • tour the Houses of Parliament
  • visit the Cotswold Wildlife park
  • visit Stratford on Avon
  • visit Swanage (for the morris dancing festival)
  • Longleat Balloon Festival

There'll also be the usual band events, quiz nights, photo walks, book groups, music events and meals with friends.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I'm still reading 'Summer of Ghosts' by P.D. Viner and I'm finding it quite hard going for some reason.  I'm just over half way through and the story has just started to grab my interest so I hope it stays like that to the end of the book.

Watched | I can't remember switching the TV on this week so, no, I haven't watched anything.  Either that, or my mind is going and I've forgotten!

Heard | Elton John, live at Longleat.  He was amazing.

Made | I've made a list of my summer plans so will be updating my blog with the list some time over the weekend.

Worn | I treated myself to two new tops.  Nothing special, just comfy short sleeved polo tops (one red, one blue), but it's nice to have new things to wear. 

And Lastly ... I'm off to Longleat again in the next couple of weeks, this time to see the photography exhibition by Simon King.  I'd originally planned to see it a month or so ago but with one thing and another I had to keep postponing.  

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Decluttering and Organising | The Next Stage

I've had my rest from decluttering and organising and now am feeling up to the challenge of the next stage.

I took some books over to the National Trust at Avebury Manor for them to use in their fundraising pop-up book sales.  There were about 300 books in all, only about 100 were mine and the rest were Ced's - this was the first big clear out of any of his prized possessions and, as to be expected, it was an emotional experience for me.  I know it was the right decision but I still had a few tears about letting them go ....... I'm okay now though and can already see and feel the benefits.

The plumber is here today, sorting out the three toilets (none of them flush properly) and the immersion heater.  I just have to arrange for the central heating control to be changed and then that side of things is all finished. The new front door, soffits and fascias will be done some time w/c 14th July, and then I have to decide what to do next.  I'm still sorting out quotes for the patio and hard landscaping and working out how I can save costs on the garden side of things ..... I'm no longer using the landscaper I'd originally planned to use as I couldn't get a firm quote from him and it was getting more and more expensive. This work was supposed to be completed in August but I don't know how likely that is now.

Meanwhile, I'm carrying on with searching out all the stuff which can be donated to charity, and this is taking a lot longer than I thought it would. I probably have another two or three weeks effort to get to the end of this stage but it will mean that over half the stuff in the two spare bedrooms will then be gone.

It looks like an horrendous task doesn't it, but it's not as bad as it looks.  The bottom two pictures are the smallest bedroom and is already sorted (even if it doesn't look like it is!) - mostly things to sell, a few bits to keep, plus all the remainder of Julie's stuff for her to sort out.  The first two photos are of the bigger of the two bedrooms and is the room I'm currently focusing on - you can see why it is going to take me another two or three weeks!  My aim, as well as the sorting, is to also clear the wall at the end of the room (seen in the first photo) so that I can have some more Ikea bookcases built in.  Once they're installed, it'll be easier to organise the things I want to keep.

Progress report to follow!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016


As well as being for Helena's SNAP meme, this set of photos also doubles up for Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt - No 10 | a bicycle

They were all taken at the Bedlam Fair in Bath.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt | First Photos

I've made a start on collecting the photos for Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.  I had a bit of a false start with some of my photos because I forgot to take the list with me; I took some photos of a patio only to check the list when I got home and find out that it should be a porch or decking - close but not close enough! These are definitely on the list though .....

No 1 | a wild heart, photographed at Job Mills

No 3 | a skeleton, bone or x-ray, discovered outside a local antique shop. 

No 10 | a bicycle, or in this case 3 of them, photographed at Job Mills

No 12 | a window, one of the stained glass windows in the Parish Church of St James.  I'd planned to photograph from inside the church but it was locked, so this was the best I could do for now.

No 16 | a map showing a trip taken, this shows one of my regular routes along the canal towpath.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Memorandum Monday

It's a really special 'first' to report this time ..... yesterday, I went with Julie to see Elton John in concert at Longleat. Live! For the first time! He was B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T! 

The day started badly .... pouring with rain and I woke with the start of a migraine .... but the sun came out and the medication worked and we were off .... to be stuck in the most horrendous traffic queue for over two and a half hours.  The concert was due to start at 6pm and we didn't get to the car park until 6.30pm, only to be told it was full and directed to another even further away (we weren't impressed because we'd paid in advance for the park and ride facility!).  Then we had to get to the arena which meant a walk - no buses to be seen! The supposedly 10 minute walk took 30 minutes and towards the end we could hear that the concert had started.  So, a quick trip to the loo, and then we found our seats and ...... all the problems getting there didn't matter.  He was just amazing, such a fantastic live performer.  The sun was hot, it didn't rain and the music was wonderful.  

He performed non-stop for over two and a half hours and then it was a wait for the bus to take us back to the car park - it was all uphill on the way back, so there was no way we were walking!  We munched our way through sausage and chips (for Julie) and chicken nugget and chips (for me - there wasn't much choice at the end of the evening!) as we were waiting for the bus, and then played hunt the car in the field for about 20 minutes.  Then we just sat and talked for about 45 minutes as we waited for the traffic to clear, eventually getting home at midnight.

I looked on the internet this morning and saw that Elton came on stage at about 7pm so we actually heard the entire concert, but just weren't in our seats for the first 3 or 4 songs. It's been a fantastic experience and the high point of the weekend.

Hope that you've all had a good weekend.  Thanks to Sian for organising this link up.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I finished reading 'Glow' by Jessica Maria Tuccelli - it wasn't at all the story I was expecting from the blurb on the back cover, but was much, much better.  Definitely one to recommend.  I've also read 'The Forgotten' by David Baldacci which was an enjoyable easy-to-read crime thriller and just the sort of book for reading out on the deck in the sunshine. I started on 'Summer of Ghosts' by P.D. Viner yesterday and so far, so good.

Watched | I haven't watched anything at all - I've spent most of the week with my nose stuck in a book!    

Heard | I went to see a swing/jazz band on Wednesday - they were excellent and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Made | I've made some more meals for the freezer - chilli, shepherd's pie and vegetable bake.  I'm slowly getting organised again on the kitchen side of things.

Worn | I've worn myself out with the home improvements and decluttering so am taking a few days break from it. I don't plan to do anything at all on the house until the middle of next week. 

And Lastly ... I'm off to Longleat on Sunday to see Elton John in concert.  I'm so excited! 

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Memorandum Monday

On Saturday I visited Job Mills for the first time.  This is a private garden which was open to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme to raise money for charity.  I learnt a little of the history of the place; originally a mill owned by the Longleat Estate, now converted into a house and previously lived in by the late Lord and Lady Bath (the parents of the current Lord Bath).  It's no longer owned by the Thynne family.  

You can see from the photo that it's a beautiful place. I went with friends and we had a dreamy afternoon wandering around the garden and then just sitting near the river enjoying the the peace and quiet.  I hope they open again next year as I'd love to go back.

Another first this weekend was seeing the comedian, Gary Delaney.  I didn't know what to expect as I hadn't ever seen him before but I'm pleased to say it was a pleasant evening.  His act is all one-liners, most of which made me smile and there were a few laugh out loud ones.  

Earlier in the week I learnt something new about Shakespeare and how his plays would have sounded in the original English accent of his time. With our modern pronunciation it seems that we miss a lot of the puns that the original playgoers would have heard.  

That's all I have to tell you so I'll send you all a big wave and wishes for a happy and healthy week.

Linking with Sian @ From High in the Sky.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

5 in 5 | Bath Art's Festival

It's time for Sandies' 5 in 5 so I'm sharing some of the photos I took today in Bath.  We were supposed to be photographing the Bedlam Fair (all the street entertainers) but were too early, so we spent our time photographing all the stalls around the Abbey instead.

Here's a selection of things that caught my eye during one five minute period.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Five on Friday | The Little Things

Read | I finished reading 'The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' by Jonas Jonasson.  When I mentioned it last week I said I wasn't really enjoying it but I stuck with it (only because it is a book group choice!) and ended up getting caught up in the story and liking it ... but have to admit that I was relieved it was a short book!  I've just started on 'Glow' by Jessica Maria Tuccelli, which has been on my to-read pile for ages.  I was supposed to read it a couple of years ago but kept putting it back to the bottom of the pile.

Watched | I've been watching the repeats of Lewis on the TV but that's about all I've watched.  

Heard | I've been listening to Heart radio while I've been sorting through the books but nothing I heard stands out as being worth a special mention.   

Made | I've made arrangements for the second stage of improvements to start in July - replacement front door, soffits and fascias, some plumbing work and changes to the central heating controls, and hopefully replacing the decking with a patio (although that may not be until August).  I think that's the end of all the major work and then it'll be on to the decorating and furnishings.

Worn | It's been an old clothes sort of week - no other choice with all the work I've been doing around the house.

And Lastly ... I'm off to see the comedian, Gary Delaney tonight. I don't think I've ever seen him before on TV (this was Julie's choice) so I'm hoping I like his humour.

Thanks to Morgana for organising the Little Things, and to Amy for organising Five on Friday.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

The Big Clear Out of 2016

The decluttering has taken on a life of its own.  On the down side, the house is at the 'looks worse before it gets better' stage (i,e, a complete mess!) but on the plus side, there is no point doing any housework until I've finished the Big Clear Out of 2016 - there's always a positive side to things if you look for it!

Today (and probably for the next couple of days) is 'Project Get the Books Sorted'.  I'm taking them over to the National Trust at Avebury next Wednesday for them to use for fundraising via their pop-up book sales.  

So far I've gathered up the books from all over the house and dumped them in the living room, ready to be packed up.  These are the books which were easy to spot (but I have a feeling there may be others still packed in boxes in the spare bedrooms) and includes the books I have no interest in keeping (mainly the ones that belonged to my late partner), novels that have been passed on to me but which I haven't (and probably won't) get around to reading, and novels that I've read but won't read again. It doesn't include the books I can sell, the novels I still want to read/re-read, or the music reference books that I'm keeping until I make a decision on whether I want to attempt some of the higher level theory exams.

The next stage is packing them ready for transportation and, for today at least, that's ground to a halt as I need to get hold of some more of the heavy duty red sacks to finish the job.  I've estimated that I'll end up with about 30 bags and five boxes so it's possible that I may have to do more than one trip over to Avebury.  

As a result of doing this, my bedroom, the dining room and the music room now only contain the correct furniture with no extra pieces taking up room.  These three rooms also only contain the things that should be kept in them. Two spare bookcases have been moved to the garage awaiting disposal and everything else is in the two spare bedrooms waiting to be sorted.

It's worth the effort!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

2016 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt | The List

Rinda at Gallo Organico has just published the list for this year.  The hunt is on!

1. A "wild heart" - a naturally occuring heart (like the rock above, but it doesn't have to be a rock)
2. A footprint or pawprint
3. A skeleton, bone or x-ray
4. A book or magazine read during 2016
5. A porch or deck
6. A camper (caravan)
7. A family gathering
8. A drawing, art project, artistic photograph, scrapbook page, greeting card, or art journal page created by you.
9. Someone playing with, in, or around water.
10. A bicycle
11. Fresh produce
12. A window
13. The moon
14. A buffet of food
15. A team logo
16. A map showing a trip taken during the time period
17. Twins
18. A supermarket cart, basket or trolley full of groceries 
19. A seasonal cocktail or beverage
20. Someone laughing
21. A photograph of you with a newspaper or calendar page from the time period covered in the Hunt. Note: you may not use a substitute for this item.

Alternatives - if you're having trouble finding any of the above, you may substitute from this list (but you may not substitute for item #21):

alternative 1: a lighthouse
alternative 2: a baby (human or animal)

My initial reaction on reading the list is that is it a lot more challenging than previous years, but .... I love a challenge!


It's time for Helena's SNAP again and this week I have three photos from the garden to share.  A set of white/green flowers almost ready to bloom.

 Sorry for the quality of the photos - it's a bit too breezy out there today!

Reasons to be Cheerful in May

I'm joining Ella again to look back through May to remember the highlights and the little things that brightened the month.

  • It's been a different sort of month, mostly tied up with the home improvements. The first stage is complete (kitchen, music room, cloakroom and new flooring) and I'm over the moon with the changes so far. If I had to single out one thing it'd have to be the new bookcases in the music room and finally being able to sort all my stuff out.  It suits my personality to have everything ordered and to know where to find things.
  • I haven't been out much this month but a couple of things stand out; I finally went to see the swing band I've been promising to see for I don't know how long, and am kicking myself for not going sooner. It was a fantastic evening and will now be in the calendar every month. Also a couple of meals out and chats with friends - the little things in life that add joy without me really realising it until I look back.
  • Celebrating major life events with Julie's family - her fourth daughter's 19th birthday, and her 3rd daughter being accepted on a PhD course, starting in September. I'm so proud of all four girls and I love them to bits.
  • Receiving, out of the blue, a snail mail letter from old friends and realising they are still in my life and thinking of me, even though we now live too far apart to see each other regularly.
  • Completing three more online courses and learning something about myself in the process; accepting that I need to use my brain in this way and that I feel better, emotionally  and physically, when I do challenge myself like this.
  • Enjoying the changing light as we move towards summer.  We've had some glorious sunsets lately - nature is magical.
  • Feeling different about life in general, in a good way.  Having a sense of satisfaction and well being as my day to day life develops its own simple rhythm.  Very little is written in stone, but daily/weekly patterns and routines are developing and that repetition suits me. 
  • Finding out the the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt is on again this year.  I was beginning to think that it wasn't happening as there hadn't been the usual countdown to it, but thankfully it is - one of the highlights of my summer.