Saturday, 31 December 2016

All About ... 2016 | Year in Review

What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before? Nothing major that I can think of.  It's been a year of going to new places, having a good social life, and meeting new people. From all of that, the biggie for me was going to see a professional production of Les Miserables in London.

Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions and will you make more for next year?  Sort of. I achieved most of the improvements I'd decided on in the house but failed miserably with getting the garden sorted.  Yes, I will set more goals for 2017 but I'll write about them in a separate post.

Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

Did anyone close to you die? No.  

What countries did you visit? Travel wasn't part of my agenda for 2016 so, although I visited new towns and places, they were all in England.

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016? I'm lucky enough to be able to write that I don't feel I lacked anything in 2016 .... nothing important anyway.  In 2017 I want to focus on quality time with family and friends.

What date from 2016 will remain etched in your memory and why? December 9th 2016, when I heard that my sister had breast cancer again.

What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting the work done on the house and starting to 'live' in my home. I love the new look kitchen, cloakroom and the music room but the best, and the change that's had the biggest impact on my day-to-day life, is the finished hobbies room.  I still have goodies to find and unpack, but I can now get on with so many of my interests - sketching, card making, the family tree research, sewing, watercolours .... the list goes on.

What was your biggest failure? I didn't get the garden sorted, mainly due to being let down by gardeners who accepted the contract and then either failed to turn up or wanted to alter the price.  

Did you suffer illness or injury? I had a bit of a scare with raised cholesterol levels - something which had never previously been a problem but which, combined with ongoing hypertension, required some remedial action. So it was a 'lose weight, exercise, eat sensibly' type of action plan, which at the first review, seems to have pushed things in the right direction. I have to see the doctor again in January but am not expecting amazing results this time - think, Christmas chocolates, mince pies and general excess!

What was the best thing you bought?  That has to be my new (to me) car, a Renault Clio. 

Where did most of your money go? On my social life and a belated 60th birthday trip to London.  Oh, and of course the new car and all the improvements in the house.

What did you get really, really, really excited about? I don't know! I've had a happy year, but not sure that I was really excited about anything.  If I have to, then I'd say that it will be the changes to the house. 

Compared to this time last year are you:
  • Happier or sadder? Up until this month, I'd have said about the same ... still missing Ced but coping and getting out and about.  The news about my sister has changed all that and, at present, is all I can think about.
  • Thinner or fatter? A little thinner!
  • Richer or poorer? Slightly richer.

What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I'd spent more time with family, and I wish that I'd carried on with the decluttering. I also wish I'd spent more time 'living in the moment', but more about that in another post.
What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I wasted less time on social media, something that I've already addressed.  

How did you spend Christmas? I was ill for most of Christmas with the cold from hell. I can't seem to get rid of it - I think I'm over the worst and then it comes back with a vengeance and I end up back at stage one.   

Did you fall in love in 2016? No.

What was your favourite TV show? I know I've watched a lot of TV this year but now I have to state my favourite shows, I can't think of anything! I watched Sherlock, Lewis, and for the first time ever, The Great British Bake Off.

What was the best book you read? This is a hard one to answer but I think I'll settle for 'The Gift of Rain' by Tan Twan Eng.

What was your greatest musical discovery of 2016? This won't be the answer you are expecting! My greatest musical discovery was teaching my great-niece, Little Miss C, to play the recorder and being constantly amazed by her ability and the speed at which she has progressed.

What did you want and get? I wanted to establish a happy and healthy lifestyle, and although there are aspects that I need to focus on, I have achieved that.

What did you want and not get? That would have to be the garden landscaping. It's been a big disappointment but, fingers crossed, I have someone starting in two weeks time on the first part. 

What was your favourite film this year?  I think that will have to be 'Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them', but close runners up are 'Jungle Book' and 'The BFG'.

What did you do on your birthday? I was tied up with the youth band all day on my birthday. The usual morning practices and then in the early evening, the start of our Christmas schedule, playing in the parish church for the Shoppers' Carol Service. The band presented me with a bouquet of flowers and I had gifts from some of the children - totally unexpected, as exchanging gifts is not something we usually do in the band. I also went out for a few meals with various groups of friends in the week leading up to the actual day.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I can't really thing of anything, or at least anything I want to mention on a public blog! 

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016? The same as always, anything comfortable. I'm not a fashion victim!

What kept you sane? Setting goals, enjoying the little things of life, keeping busy.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I can't say that I've really fancied any celebrity/public figures this year.
What political issue stirred you the most? Brexit, the Syrian conflict, and the US presidential campaign.

Who did you miss? Ced. Always.  

Who was the best new person you met? I can't single anyone out. I now have a small group of people living locally who I can call friends and who I meet with regularly.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016. Breath ... count to 10!

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.  I'm no good at lyrics! 

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Busy Doing Nothing!

The only productive things I managed yesterday was to photograph the frost (see previous post) and keep myself supplied with food and drink. Most of my efforts involved trying to keep myself occupied and not worry too much about my sister .... but, my butterfly brain couldn't concentrate on anything to too long so a day of doing nothing means that the house looked like a bomb had hit it!

I tried a bit of piano practice but my heart wasn't in it and all I really did was move music books around, so I've tidied it all up this morning and will have another go later on.

I was a bit more successful with the Christmas jigsaw. I hadn't intended to set it up downstairs but it sort of happened, so it's lap meals until I finish it. It's a 1000 piece WASGIJ puzzle where there isn't an image to follow - the finished puzzle will show what the people in the photo on the box are reacting to. This is the progress after three days so it's going to take ages.  

I did a bit a reading but my current book hasn't really grabbed my attention so far. It's 'Black-Eyed Susans' by Julia Heaberlin, and is one of the books in the last load passed on by my sister.  It has fairly good reviews so I'll persevere with it for now.

Apart from that, the only other thing I did yesterday was to try to watch the Harry Potter film on the TV.  I was looking forward to this so of course, this was the time friends decided to phone and text. Just as well I know the story!

Today has been more productive.  I've tidied the house, done a couple of loads of washing, made a doctor's appointment, and have organised for two lots of work to be carried out in January (more about that later). Now I'm off to get myself some lunch, and this afternoon plan to complete the bits and bobs of admin that I didn't finish before the Christmas break started. Tonight has been set aside to watch the next Harry Potter film - I'm going to ignore the phone this time!

I heard from my sister last night; yesterday's operation went well and she's expecting to come home today.  Talk about a speedy service, but at least she'll be able to rest properly at home .... hospital wards are noisy places! Sadly, I have a horrible cold and can't go anywhere near her until I'm over it so won't actually get to see her in person for a few days.  

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Frosty Morning

It's chilly out there so although I had no plans to venture out today, I was tempted out to the garden to photograph the early morning frost on the plants and the fence. These are contenders for winter weather (no. 10) in the winter photography scavenger hunt.

I'll add a linky at the start of January so that we can share our progress.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Image courtesy of duron123 at

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas.

The answer to yesterday's Advent Calendar Joke is ....... Santa chooses a pizza that is deep pan, crisp and even!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 24

Yesterday's answer: Santa has three gardens so that he can 'ho-ho-ho'!

The final question, and my favourite, is .... what sort of pizza does Santa choose?

Friday, 23 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 23

Yesterday's answer: Snowmen eat Frosted Flakes for breakfast!

Why does Santa have three gardens?

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 22

Yesterday's answer: Santa Paws delivers presents to cats!

What do snowmen eat for breakfast?

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 21

Yesterday's answer: I asked 'what did the sea say to Santa?' ..... nothing, it just waved!

Who delivers presents to cats?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Memorandum Monday

Sorry, I'm a day late with this post ..... so happy Tuesday morning greetings to Sian and all the rest of the Monday gang.

It's a Christmassy first this time.  I went to see Pip Upton (a local actor) read A Christmas Carol by candlelight.  The photo show the stage set before the event started; once it did start, the only light in a fairly large room was provided by the candles you can see in the photo.  Pip Upton, adopting the persona of Charles Dickens, read an abbreviated version of the story using Dickens' original script - apparently, this is how the story was read to large audiences during Dickens' lifetime, although we were a much smaller audience, only 30 of us. I love this story, and this was a particularly atmospheric reading of it; imagine the dark room, the flickering candlelight and the intimacy of the evening. A Christmas Carol is an essential part of Christmas for me and this was a lovely way to start the celebrations.

Thanks to Sian for organising this. Only a few more days to go before the big event ... I hope you all have a fantastic time in whichever way you choose the celebrate it.  

Advent Calendar Joke 20

Yesterday's answer: Snowmen eat icebergers for lunch!

What did the sea say to Santa?

Monday, 19 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 19

Yesterday's answer: If you drop a snowball into a glass of water ....... it gets wet!

What do snowmen eat for lunch?

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 18

Yesterday's answer: If you eat Christmas decorations, you'll get tinselitis!

What happens when you drop a snowball into a glass of water?

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 17

Yesterday's answer: What's white and goes up? It's a confused snowflake. (sorry, I think the jokes are getting worse!)

What do you get if you eat Christmas decorations?

Friday, 16 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 16

Yesterday's answer: What did the snowman say to the angry carrot? ..... 'Get out of my face!

What's white and goes up?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 15

Yesterday's answer: What do sheep say at Christmas? ..... they say, Merry Christmas to Ewe!

What did the snowman say to the angry carrot?

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 14

Yesterday's answer: Silent Night is the parent's favourite carol!

What do sheep say at Christmas?

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 13

Yesterday's answer: Santa's wife is called Mary Christmas!

What is a parent's favourite Christmas carol? 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Memorandum Monday

Happy Monday greetings to Sian and the rest of the Monday crew.

It's been a traumatic week but I do have one first to tell you.  Two of the children I teach have joined a local windband and I was invited to their Christmas concert. It was the first time I've seen them play in the band, or play any music that I haven't taught them, so it was fantastic to watch them performing with such confidence. I've already invited myself to their next concert!

The reason for the traumatic week? I learnt that my sister has breast cancer again, for the second time. Completely unexpected and obviously a shock. 

Advent Calendar Joke 12

Yesterday's answer: the snowman couldn't go to the ball because he had no body to go with!

Today, I'd like to know what Santa's wife is called?

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 11

Yesterday's answer: Which athlete is warmest in winter ...... a long jumper!

Today's question .... 'why couldn't the skeleton go to the Christmas party?

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 10

Yesterday's answer: I asked 'what kind of paper likes music?' ....... rapping paper!

Today let's see if you know which athlete is warmest in winter?

Friday, 9 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 9

Yesterday's answer: Santa's little helpers learn 'the elfabet' at school!

Today I'm asking what kind of paper likes music?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 8

Yesterday's answer: 'Who hides in the bakery at Christmas?' ...... why, the mince spies, of course!

Today I'm asking 'what do Santa's little helpers learn at school?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 7

Yesterday's answer: what do you call a polar bear wearing ear muffs? ....... anything you want, he can't hear you!

Today, I'd like to know 'who hides in the bakery at Christmas?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

5 in 5 | Birthday Bouquets

My 5 photos were all taken in my living room early on Sunday morning before it was light, so harsh lighting and shadows from the flash.  The only things worth photographing at that time in the morning were the week old flowers gifted to me on my birthday.

Thanks for organising this monthly link up, Sandie.

Advent Calendar Joke 6

Yesterday's answer: if you cross Santa with a duck you get a Christmas quacker!

Now for today's question .... what do you call a polar bear wearing ear muffs?

Monday, 5 December 2016

Memorandum Monday

A cheery Monday morning wave to you all after a prolonged absence from Sian's weekly meme.

I only have one 'first' to tell you this week ... it may surprise some of you to hear that I watched 'Love Actually' for the first time ever on Saturday night. I was invited over to Julie's home for a belated birthday meal (fig & goat cheese tart, chicken curry, rice & nan bread, choc chip tart & ice cream, all cooked by daughter no. 2) and this was the chosen viewing. This was the sort of film I could never get Ced to watch, which is the main reason that I'd not seen it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I hope you all have a good week ahead of you. It's Christmas carol playing season for me, so lots of standing and playing in the freezing cold .... I love it!

Thank you to Sian for organising this get together.

Advent Calendar Joke 5

The answer to yesterday's question, who or what says oh-oh-oh is ..... Santa walking backwards!

Today's is slightly better ....... what do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 4

The answer to yesterday's question 'how do snowmen get around?' is a bit of a groaner .... 'they ride an icicle!'

Today, I'm asking who or what say 'oh-oh-oh'?

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 3

The answer to yesterday's joke ... 'Where do snowmen like to dance?', is 'at snowballs!'

Today's joke is ...

How do snowmen get around?

Friday, 2 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke 2

The answer to yesterday's joke ... 'what do you get if you cross a snowman with a shark', was frost bite!

Today's joke is ...

Where do snowmen like to dance?

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Advent Calendar Joke

I don't have time to do a daily advent photo this year so I'm posting the jokes out of my advent calendar instead.

What do you get if you cross a snowman with a shark?

I'll post the answer tomorrow.

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

Note: I will have to edit this post later as Blogger won't let me add a photo or a linky! For now, if you plan to join in, please leave a comment and I'll add you to the list when I get a linky to work.

It's December 1st, so it must be time to start the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt. The hunt will run from 1st December 2016 to 21st March 2017, and all photos must be taken between these dates.

1.   layers
2.   raindrops
3.   key
4.   a signpost with an image of an animal
5.   fur or feather
6.   river or canal
7.   glassware
8.   a seasonal treat
9.   diamond
10. winter weather
11. a photo taken outside at night
12. a market or market stall
13. cogs/gears
14. repetition
15. hands
16. a memory of your childhood
17. a church with a tower or spire
18. tools
19. bird table or bird feeder
20. cold
21. hygge - this one is compulsory, here's a link to an explanation of the meaning of hygge 

If you find any of the above hard to get you may substitute one or both of the subjects below, except No. 21 which is compulsory.
Alt A  a pinecone
Alt B  a shadow
Alt C  an angel

I'd love you to join in, the more the merrier - please sign up below, and I'll be hosting a linky at the end of each month so you can show your finds.