Thursday, 19 January 2017

Not Again!

I should have known better ... tempting fate by saying I was feeling better! I had to abandon the idea of working on Monday - the drive home was dreadful, I had to keep stopping - and it was straight to bed for me as soon as I got back. Tuesday and Wednesday plans had to be cancelled but I did manage to get up middayish on Tuesday and was up for most of Wednesday, although an indication of how I was feeling is that Wednesday passed in a blur of daytime TV and Facebook.

I feel tons better today but am still going to take it easy until I'm really sure I'm over it. So personal goals, plans and challenges are on the back-burner for a while and I'm going to focus on getting plenty of rest and taking better care of myself. The jobs I've scheduled that are to be carried out by tradesmen will still go ahead, but everything I was going to do myself will be left until next month at the earliest. Teaching, band practice and two theatre trips will hopefully still happen but the rest of my time in the foreseeable future will be spent doing as little as possible!

It's miserable being ill at the best of times but, living alone and being so ill has definitely been no fun at all!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Memorandum Monday

Monday morning greetings to Sian and the rest of the Mondayers. A new year and a new focus for this meme, with a post about any interesting mail received during the week. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be calling these posts now so have stuck to 'Memorandum Monday' until someone points me in the right direction.

I had lots of junk mail and a few renewal letters but I won't bore you with those. I'm going to share a photo of my only piece of interesting fun mail and let you know what I'm up to.

It's okay, you're not seeing things ...... it is a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone translated into Latin! I decided to brush up on my Latin translation skills which, considering I only know a few verbs and the odd word or so, is going to be more demanding than originally thought.  When I say 'originally thought' I'm being rather generous in describing the brain power employed when deciding that this was something I wanted to do, as it's quite clear that I didn't think it through at all! Still never say never, I will give it my best shot - Google is my friend in this endeavour, I feel. I'm not completely stupid though -  I have modified my ambition and will now aim to translate the first chapter!

To finish, I'll share some good news from my sister. The cancer hasn't spread, she doesn't need chemo but will have to take tablets for the next five years. Fantastic news!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

I Spoke Too Soon!

I spoke too soon when I said I was over the Christmas lurgy ... as soon as I was telling everyone I was fine and back to normal, it crept up on me again and the only option was bed rest. So (whispering) .... I seem to be okay again now.  I went to band on Saturday and will be back to work tomorrow. This has had an obvious knock-on effect on my January goals but there's still plenty of time so I'm feeling positive about completing two of them, and possibly all three, by the end of the month.

The replacement of the integrated fridge is behind schedule as the delivery was cancelled by the supplier due to lack of drivers! I cancelled the order and will be going to collect a fridge from a local store this week and then I have to rearrange the installation date, which may or may not be this month, depending on whether N's baby has been born. It's in hand anyway, so won't be delayed for too long.

Moving the boxes out of the smallest bedroom is way behind schedule but there are still enough days left in the month to get this done. I may have to ask friends to help now. 

The third goal for January was to get the decking removed and ....

.... trumpet fanfare ....

it's done:

It looks a bit of a mess doesn't it? My original idea was to live with it like this for a month or so to decide whether I wanted the new patio to be raised to the height of the decking (i.e. so that there isn't a step down from the french doors), or whether I preferred to go for a patio at the lower level (i.e. the height of the flagstones you can see in the photo, which will need a step down from the french doors). As soon as the decking was removed, the decision was a no-brainer - it'll be the lower level for the patio as this seem to open up the garden. So to move this project on the next step I need to arrange for a quote for laying the patio, which I hope to get around to sometime next week.

I'm already thinking about what I can choose for my February goals!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Back to Normal

It's surprising how quickly you get back into your normal routine, isn't it? A few minutes after arriving at the school yesterday, I'd forgotten all about the holiday and everything was back to normal. The children were excited to show me what they'd been practicing (although 'practicing' probably wasn't the correct description for most of them!) and I enjoyed a perfectly wonderful afternoon taking enjoyment from their pleasure in their achievements.

This morning it was more of the same as it was back to regular Saturday morning practices for the Youth Band, this time in our new home. It was lovely to see everyone and to catch up with all the news, and to spend an hour or so just focusing on playing. I followed up with a quiet afternoon at home, getting on with jigsaw puzzle (nearly finished), and tonight will either finish reading my latest book or will look for something to watch on TV.

Tomorrow is operation Small Bedroom!!

0 mins = 2 days out of 4 achieved for my exercise target
5 portions = 2 day out of 7 achieved for my 5 portions of fruit and veg each day target

Friday, 6 January 2017

A Walk and a Trip to the Cinema

I know it's very early days but I think I'm getting the hang of this exercise lark. Yesterday I easily fitted in my daily exercise by the simple act of parking 15 minutes away from the cinema, so by the time I got back to the car I'd met my target of 30 minutes. Simples, with the added bonus of free parking! I hope this realisation is going to have a positive impact on my attitude to exercising - in the long term, I only need to double what I did today and I will easily manage the recommended 10,000 steps daily.

I was meeting friends to see 'A Monster Calls'.  We hadn't pre booked our seats but there really was no danger of not being able to sit together, as you can see from the photo!

From the trailer I wasn't expecting it to be a weepie and may not have gone to see it if I'd realised. The subject matter was a bit too close to home with things as they are with my sister. I definitely had a few tears in the cinema but thinking about it at home, after a mug of coffee and some shortbread, I'd still give the film a thumbs up.

This afternoon I'll be back in school running two recorder groups and some individual brass and woodwind lessons. I'm looking forward to seeing the children and getting back into a routine again - whether I'll feel the same by the time I get home remains to be seen!

30 mins walking = 2 days out of 4 achieved for my exercise target
6 portions = 1 day out of 7 achieved for my 5 portions of fruit and veg each day target

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A New Approach

Yesterday was a bit of a drab day for photography but perfect for walking.

I met my friend L and we explored the riverside walks in Melksham, were out for about 45 minutes and managed just under 5000 steps in that time.  Both of us are completely unfit, overweight and unable to manage the speed the rest of our group of friends prefer to walk at, so we've decided to form our own little breakaway group and do a slow, short walk every Wednesday morning.

I felt tons better afterwards though and that one walk has kick-started my self-improvement gene, which disappeared into the background at the end of last year.  I keep on about need to lose weight and so far my efforts have been focused on that one aspect, i.e. dieting as the only way to lose weight. I'm pleased with how I've done so far, and will continue in the same manner, but I've decided to tweak my approach a little and this time concentrate on creating an all round healthier lifestyle.

There are lots of things I can do to improve my lifestyle but I'm taking a slow, sensible approach (yes, I can be sensible when I want to!) by not trying to change everything at once and swamping myself in the process. I'm going to focus on a couple of aspects of my life that I need, or want, to improve, and will set myself some smart target to monitor my progress. So to start, my first two targets are:
  • complete a minimum of 30 minutes exercise on 4 days each week during January 2017
  • eat at least 5 portions of fruit/vegetables every day during January 2017

To keep myself accountable I'll record the previous day's achievement at the bottom of each post. At the end of January I'll decide whether I need to continue with the same targets, whether they need to be tweaked, or whether I can set completely new targets.

Exercise:  approx 45 mins walk in Melksham = 1 of 4
5 portions: 0 = 0 of 5 = 0 of 7

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Playing Catch Up

To start, here's a photo of a pinecone (alt A) for the WPSH - not very artistic but I left it a bit late and the light was failing!

Yesterday was set aside for tackling various unfinished jobs around the house and garden. If I'd set my mind to it I could have completed everything on the list, but I got sidetracked by the jigsaw puzzle (just over half of the pieces in place!) so a few tasks remain and will be done today ... hopefully!

The biggie was getting the decking cleared ready for next week and that's now done. Well, there's still two big planters to move but the gardener said he'd move them for me. All the other pots have been moved further down the garden, or emptied and stored in the garage for the time being. This all took me much longer than it should have - it's bitterly cold out and I really struggled with that which together with the fact that I'm still not feeling 100% from my recent cold meant that I had to keep coming back indoors to warm up and rest - I felt really pathetic and a bit tearful but gave myself a good talking to and carried on! Altogether it was less than one hour of work but it actually took me most of the morning! Still, it's done now so I know I'm ready for the gardener when he arrives next week.

Indoors, after some warming comfort food (tomato soup with chunks of wholemeal bread, both homemade), I moved some of the boxes from the small bedroom to the end of the living room. My aim was to get the contents of at least two of the boxes photographed and ready for sale but that's one of the tasks I've had to carry over to today as I was sidetracked by the jigsaw and then interrupted by (very welcome) visitors and gave up for the day.

The visitors were Julie and daughter no 3 with my Christmas presents. I was too poorly to get to see them over the holiday so, as they knew I was on the mend, they called in with the goodies - candles, a book on preserves and jams (to go with the preserving set they gave me for my birthday), a Christmas tree ornament, some candy canes (already eaten!) and a beautiful reversible shawl wrap. I was really spoilt this year!  After they went I settled down to some reading, then a soak in the bath and an early night. 

Today, I'm feeling refreshed and have a bit more energy so I'm off to meet with friends for a walk an amble around Melksham Park and then coffee and cake to finish. If I feel up to it when I get home I'll do the photos of the things to be sold, and then finish writing the newsletter to issue to the band on Saturday .... or .... I'll just cuddle up on the sofa and carry on reading my book. Even as I'm writing this I know that the sofa and book option will win!

Hope you all have a good day x 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


I saw the following post on Karen's Facebook account and is something I've decided to do in 2017.

To start 2017 off in a loving way I'm participating in the Pay-it-Forward initiative... The first five people who comment on this post with "I'm in" will receive a surprise from me at some point in 2017 - anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. Let's do more kind and loving things for each other in 2017, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other!

I love the idea, so the first five people who tell me 'I'm in' in the comment box below will get a surprise from me at some point over the year. Don't forget to pay it forward though, if you comment "I'm in" you must copy and paste this onto your own blog xxx

To finish, and nothing at all to do with the start of this post, I have another photo for the WPSH - this is for repetition (no. 14).

Monday, 2 January 2017

Memorandum Monday

Monday greetings to all of you and the first Memorandum Monday of the new year.

I've lost internet access on my main laptop and am writing this on the iPad so it's going to be a much shorter post than I planned - Blogger doesn't seem to like my iPad at all!

I've spent the morning planning new social events for January and February, and also trying to come up with a new timetable for fitting in the routine chores now that I'm backing teaching in a couple of my old schools.  I'm trying to be sensible and not overdo things so planned events so far are:

  • Cinema to see 'A Monster Calls'
  • Cinema to see 'A Streetcat Named Bob'
  • Theatre to see a biographic evening on the life and music of Cat Stevens
  • Theatre to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • Theatre to see live recording of 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue'
The first four will be with various friends but I'll be going to the final one on my own.

I've been out in the garden for the first time this year, and to be honest it's the first time in ages. I have a few things I want to move/dispose of before the man comes to remove the decking so I made a start on it today, collecting up the cobbles I want to keep for use later on.  Some were stacked on the decking but approx. 15 minutes effort means they are now bagged and stored in the garage for the time being. I still need to move some of the plant pots but will need help with the bigger ones so I'm off to organise that now.

Thanks to Sian for organising this and I hope you all have a lovely week.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January Goals

I don't plan to have any New Year Resolutions in the traditional sense as, knowing myself so well, they will be doomed to failure as soon as I type the words out! So I'm going for the approach that's been working well for the last few years, which is to set myself short and medium term goals of things I want to achieve and activities I'd like to do.

So far I've only really thought of my goals for January, some of which have already been organised and will be completed on time, assuming that the workmen turn up on the agreed dates.

The first is to have the decking removed.  After a disappointing year trying to get the entire garden landscaped as one big job, I've decided to break it down into smaller tasks and arrange for each task to be completed before I move on to the next one. I'm also hoping that this will work out cheaper for me as I plan to buy all the materials myself to avoid the huge mark-ups I've seen on some of the quotes.  Anyway, the decking is scheduled to be removed on Jan 12th and then I plan to live with it for a month or so to see if, when I move onto stage 2, I want the new stone patio to be raised to the current level of the decking or to have a step down onto a lower level patio.

The second job is to have the integrated fridge replaced. N, who did the refurbishment of the kitchen, is coming to sort it for me (and also to quote for my bedroom and en-suite revamp); it will hopefully be completed by Jan 14th but may be delayed if his wife goes into labour - a pretty good excuse! Whatever happens, I think it will be completed by the end of the month. I debated on changing the fridge when I had the kitchen done but decided against it, which now turns out to have been to wrong decision but not the end of the world in the big scheme of things.

The final goal is to sort the smallest bedroom, currently looking like this ...

All of the boxes are already sorted so I know what has to be kept and what has to be sold or disposed of. My aim is, that by the end of January, the room will be arranged as a spare bedroom and all of the boxes will either have been emptied and put away, or moved to the end of the living room ready to be sold on. At the moment it is 'out of sight, out of mind' so I'm moving it downstairs to be visible and make me get on with it!  

That's the plan anyway ... watch this space for the progress!

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt | Update

I don't know about the rest of you but so far, I haven't managed to take many photos for the hunt.  I'll have to get my act together in January!

For now, here's a possibility for raindrops (no. 2) and my other photos can be seen here.

I've added a linky below and I look forward to seeing how everyone is getting on.

Happy New Year

Image courtesy of Sirichai at

Wishing you all a very happy 2017.