Saturday, 30 September 2017

Day 44: Gladioli

Another gladioli is flowering (at long last!) and if you look carefully, you can see that a yellow one will soon be in full flower. It took them long enough!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Day 43: Shopping for Laptops

A rainy start to the day but at least it shows the paving at its best!

I only had two recorder clubs to run at lunchtime and then I collected Lauren to go shopping for a replacement laptop for her. Who knew there were so many difference specifications to choose from! Thankfully she had some idea what she wanted and is now back in her own home getting to grips with her new toy!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Day 42: The Last Leaf

The last euonymus leaf, desperately holding on. The euonymus needs to be in a larger pot but I don't know when I should do this. Is it now, as the plant settles into it's dormant period or do I wait until spring when it starts its next season's growth? Any suggestions, please?

I have a quiet morning at home for which I'm thankful as I've woken up with a cold.  I only have one school lesson to teach this afternoon (at 2:30) and then three private lessons, so will be back home by 5:30ish. I'm staying in this evening as I need to get on and finish this month's book group read - 'The Trouble With Goats and Sheep' by Joanna Cannon. I've been wanting to read this for ages and it was my choice for the group to read but, so far,  I haven't enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. I'm about half way through so there's still time for things to change.

I'm not wearing my glasses as I type this. I'm sitting at the dining room table and can see plenty of bird activity in the garden - I think they're one of the tit family but it's all a bit blurred so that's a guess! I bet they'll disappear as soon as I get my camera!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Day 41: A Fitbit Update

At the moment my focus is on completing my daily target of steps, currently set at 8,000, and on completing a period of exercise lasting at least 30 minutes on at least 6 days each week. So far, except on days I've had a migraine, I've met my target. I've deliberately set my targets low so that I can achieve them as, if I fail to meet them too often I know I'll give up. Most of my interests are sedentary so completing at least 8,000 steps each day is an achievement and now I've become more used to moving regularly, I'm easily taking over 10,000 steps each day. I have no plans to change my target on the fitbit in the near future but in my mind I am going for the 10,000 - I know I'm kidding myself, but it's working!

The target of a 30 minutes exercise period on at least 6 days a week is the one which requires the most effort and I usually do this by walking around the house and/or garden before I have my breakfast. This means that I have done about a third of my daily step target before my day has really started. My day off from this is the Saturday as band practice starts early so I don't always have time, and know that I won't want to do it when I get home. Ideally, I'd go out for a walk every day but I still have a lot of days when I can't face going out of the house (unless I'm teaching or meeting someone), so exercising around the home is a good compromise. If I feel able, then I'll do another walk around the village or along the canal later in the day.

My favourite feature on the fitbit is the reminder to move at least once an hour. I've set my day as 9 am to 6 pm so, if I haven't taken at least 250 steps during each hour, the fitbit vibrates 10 minutes before the hour is up as a reminder to move. According to the blurb in the help documents, moving for short periods at least once an hour can reduce the negative effects on a person's health of sitting for long periods of time. Movement, as in walking and climbing stairs, is definitely easier even after only one month of exercise, and that's something which will continue to to improve.

You can also use the fitbit to monitor your weight. I'm not using this feature yet, but will get round to it eventually. I still need to lose weight but am waiting until the depression is less of an issue - there are much bigger problems to focus on first. I'm aware of slight changes to my body shape already, just from the regular exercise, with clothes feeling looser than before.

If anyone is thinking of getting a fitbit, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it. I'm kicking myself for dithering so long about buying one as I can honestly say that it has been a life changer for me. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Day 40: A Teaching Day

I've finished all the presentations/workshops for the band so it's back to the normal routine, although I have no idea what the 'normal' routine is since I gave up most of my teaching commitments. Today is definitely a teaching afternoon in my Trowbridge school working with years 1 and 2. It's changed from last year as I used to teach years 3 and 4 as well but I'm happy with the change and am looking forward to just working with the younger ones - less crowd control and more making music and experimenting with rhythms. It'll be fun.

Later today we're going to an early screening of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and then for a meal. 

That leaves me with the morning free to do whatever I fancy. Some housework actually got done yesterday ... I know, I couldn't believe it either! I sorted out both freezers, including defrosting the small one in the kitchen as the door has been difficult to close since it iced up completely following something a friend did to the thermostat. I also emptied a couple of kitchen cupboards to clean them out and did a couple of loads of washing. 

Here's today's photo ... I love the autumn colours.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Day 39: It's Raining Again ...

... which has given me the chance to photograph some webs for the scavenger hunt. It's too wet to consider working in the garden today so it's another day indoors, probably tackling some housework unless I can come up with something more interesting to do!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Day 37: Sammy

Meet Sammy, my neighbour's cat. We have an ongoing battle, which I'm winning! The previous owners of my home used to let him indoors but lots of my family have allergies so I don't allow him in. He is still very determined, even though he's only made it indoors once during the four years I've lived here. Sometimes he sits as close to my front door as he possibly can and visitors have to step over him to get into the house whilst making sure he stays firmly on the outside.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Day 36: A Bit Grumpy!

I've woken up with the grumps and just want the week to be over. I've not been sleeping well and that, together with the extra work of the band presentation, has just about finished me off! I only have a couple of recorder clubs to run at lunchtime today, which are always good fun, so thankfully not much effort is required of me today.

A quick walk around the garden this morning revealed that the honeysuckle has a few (very) late flowers. It finished flowering about six weeks ago.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Day 35: Take Three Thursday

Three more photos from the Harry Potter tour for Mary Lou's Take Three Thursday, all with the common theme of Dumbledore.

Dumbledore in the Great Hall
Dumbledore's office
the entrance to Dumbeldore's office

This morning it's raining and very windy, leaving the patio covered with leaves

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Day 34: Family Tree

I've finished all the the presentations and workshops in the local primary schools for this term so fingers crossed that we get some new band members on Saturday. Then it will all have been worthwhile! 

I'm worn out from all the effort of the last couple of weeks so will be glad of a couple of quiet days before the weekend. I have to teach tomorrow and Friday but not for long each day and I don't have anything else organised, so will spend most of my time relaxing at home.

I didn't make it to the theatre last night. In the end I gave my ticket to a friend and spent some time instead with J as it was her birthday ... a much better end to the day. We're going out next week to do a proper celebration, so yesterday was just coffee, cake and jelly babies (!) and time to chat. 

The updated family tree software has arrived so I can get on with the research ... something to look forward to on the cold, dark evenings once the clocks change next month.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Day 33: Rushing Around!

A wet start to the day, but it's cheered up now. I've had a very busy morning and am looking at an even busier afternoon, all to do with presentations in local primary schools for new band members. 

I'm supposed to be going to the theatre tonight but, although I have the ticket, I don't have the energy so it's looking very doubtful.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Day 32: Mirabilis Jalapa

Here's another photo of the Mirabilis jalapa. It's a fascinating plant as there are different coloured flowers on each plant and some of those flowers also change colour through their blooming period. Saying that, I'm not convinced that it has a permanent place in my garden as it is mostly leaves and, fascinating as the flowers are, they're small and only open for part of the day. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Day 30: Euonymus

Part of the town centre is flooded this morning, the basement where we store the band instruments has pools of water all over the place and the lift is out of action so we had to carry all the equipment via the stairs. However, it's not all bad news - the euonymus has survived last night's storm and has retained all of its leaves. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Day 29: Unwelcome Visitors

It's that time of year again, isn't it. I woke up to this unwelcome visitor and two of his friends having a party in my kitchen, so not the best start to the day! 

This one was enormous! It was so big that a drinking glass was too small to fit over it so I had to use the big glass measuring beaker. I'm obviously getting braver because after the initial heart attack type panic, I was composed enough to take a photo before I dealt with it. I wasn't composed enough to get it properly in focus though! I put the three of them out on the patio so the house, as far as I can tell, is a spider free zone once again. Blogger is doing strange things to the photos again - the walls are white!

Yesterday turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable day. It's always good fun to hear what the children have been up to during the summer break and I was pleased that they'd all restarted their practice schedules as soon as school started. It was all about deciding on their targets for the next few months and, the biggest decision, choosing the new pieces of music to learn. They always get to choose one piece themselves and this time the girls have all chosen different Disney songs, one boy has chosen Star Wars and the other has gone for Lord of the Rings. It's going to be an interesting time!

I have a fairly quiet day today with just a lunchtime recorder club to run. I'd normally come straight home but my youngest learner will be having a music certificate presented in assembly and she wants me to be there to watch, so I'll be hanging about for a couple of hours. If it stays dry I'll have a look around Avebury, if it's raining I'll read my book in the staff room. It's not the best use of my time but she worked so hard to get this certificate and she is desperate for me to be there, even though I'd already presented the certificate to her at the end of last term in front of her family! 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Day 28: Back to School

It's my first day back at school today. I've been visiting local schools for the band workshops but today I actually have to teach! I'm sure I'll be okay once I get started, but admit to feeling less than enthusiastic as I'm typing this post.

Today's photo is another one of the mystery flowers I posted about here, except it is no longer a mystery because I found the label (as usual, the label was exactly where it was supposed to be, but was hiding when I was looking for it the first time!!). It's Mirabilis jalapa, also called the 'Miracle of Peru' or the '4 o'clock flower'.

It's also time for Mary Lou's Take Three Thursday so I'm sharing three more photos from the Harry Potter tour, all showing the inside of building and which may be used for no. 7 of the scavenger hunt - the inside of something. My apologies for the strange lighting in them; there are film studio lights on all the exhibits and in a few of my photos from the day I've picked up a blue cast which I can't get rid of.

a corridor in the Leaky Cauldron
Gryffindor boy's bedroom
Hagrid's hut

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Day 27: After the Storm

I didn't get much sleep last night once the storm started. It wasn't so much the sound of the rain hitting the plastic covering on my neighbour's shed, or the roar of the wind ... it was all down to the awful racket from someone's wheelie bin blowing around in the storm. The problem was eventually resolved by a thoroughly annoyed neighbour (not the owner of the wheelie bin) retrieving the offending bin ... I could tell he was annoyed by his very creative use of the English language as he wrestled with the bin! I was wide awake by then and didn't get much more sleep, so am happy to have another day at home. 

I opened the blinds to blue skies and a gentle breeze and luckily took some photos first thing, as now it is pouring down and any photography would be out of the question.There hasn't been much damage to the garden at all as today's photo of the cosmos shows. The only damage was that one of the climbers had pulled away from its trellis in places (now sorted), and one of the stones near the crab apple tree has blown over and flattened two crocosmia plants. 

I managed to get everything done yesterday. I decided that I wouldn't take on any extra pupils after I met the parents, mostly due to the behaviour of the children who kept opening the cupboards in my music room and wouldn't stop when asked to by me ... the parents made no attempt to discipline their children!

I'm not sure what I'll get up to today. I want to make some more soup for the freezer and I have to prepare the vegetables for a mid-week roast tonight, but apart from that it'll just be a case of 'see what happens'. I hope you all have a good day and the weather is kind to you wherever you are.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Day 26: Here and There!

Just a quick post today as I overslept and am trying to catch up with myself. Today's photo was taken in the garden, where I was expecting to see lots of damaged plants after yesterday's winds and rain. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see very little damage and lots of new buds. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

It's going to be a 'here and there' sort of day with little time for a breather between appointments. I have a couple of private lessons, a band presentation in a village primary school and a trip to Corsham to drop of some cornets for repair. I'm also having lunch with a friend, need to be back home to receive a parcel delivery during the designated time, and am meeting with other parents to discuss the possibility of teaching their children.

Roll on tonight!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Day 25: A Day of Leisure!

I don't really intend to do too much today. I started to feel ill as the day progressed yesterday and ended up calling it a day by about 4 pm. I've had a good night's sleep and feel much improved, though not completely back to normal. A pamper day at home should sort me out.

Anyway, a quick peek out of the window doesn't really encourage any outdoor adventures today ... it's cold, wet and windy out there, so I'm going to stay snug and warm indoors.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Day 23: A Yellow Flower!

It's the only yellow flower in the garden! I assume I planted it, but I don't know what it is, so I am guessing a little on that point. Can anyone identify it for me please?

Band starts back today so it'll be a lively morning settling all the children back into the routine. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up on their news. This afternoon is gardening duties if the rain holds off, or getting some more things ready for sale if it's too wet to stay outside.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Day 22: A Surprise in the Garden

The gladioli have flowered! I thought they were blind but happily I was wrong. 

I went into town this morning to do a bit of shopping for the band and timed it completely wrong. It started off okay and then the heavens opened and I was drenched - not one item of clothing was dry! I squelched my way back home, dried off, and haven't ventured out since. Looking outside as it write this post, the sun is now shining and there is a small patch of blue sky but I'm not going to be tricked - one drenching today is enough for me - so I'll be doing the rest of my daily steps around the house.

I forgot to post my photos for Mary Lou's Take Three Thursday, so here they are on Friday. Three photos all showing domes, which is number 13 on the scavenger hunt list.

seen on the Harry Potter tour - the ice sculpture at the Yule Ball 

also from the Harry Potter tour (but slightly out of focus!), the domed lids of the potion bottles in Snape's classroom

taken locally, this is the blind house at Hilperton. A blind house is a lock-up.

In answer to a couple of questions from yesterday about all the instruments. Yes, they do fit in my car which is a renault clio - the seven smaller ones in the boot and the three large ones, plus my own instrument, on the back seat. Every time I do a workshop I load them into the car, unload at the school, reload after the workshop has finished (usually with help from children!) and then unload at home. And yes, it is tiring but good fun and I look forward to it every year!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Day 21: Back to Business

I have a very busy morning, all to do with getting new members for the band. I'm doing two workshops with year 3 classes in one of the local primary schools and have a further nine workshops to do over the next two week. These instruments will be my constant companions until I've finished.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Day 20: Making Lists ...

... of fun things to do!

I used to do this regularly but have got out of the habit, mainly due to the depression, but it time to change things round so I've been coming up with ideas of places I'd like to visit and things I'd like to do from now until the lead up to Christmas. Sorry to mention the 'C' word this early! 

Here's my list so far -
  • coach trip to Lichfield and the National Arboretum in October
  • return visit to Lacock Abbey before September 20th (because a film crew is working there and the rumour is that they are filming the follow up to 'Fantastic Beasts' - we're hoping to catch sight of Eddie Redmayne!
  • cinema nights to see Kingsman 2, Screen Unseen and Logan Lucky
  • theatre trips to see Elaine Paige, 'The Real Thing', and 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert'
in addition to the things on the list I also have the band commitments, my monthly book group and there will be plenty of coffee/cake sessions with friends. I still have to organise a trip to London with J to see a show (still to be decided) as a joint birthday celebration. 

It feels so good to have plenty to look forward to and it's a good mix of solo events (coach trip and theatre visits) and spending time with friends. 

I've also made the decision to postpone the work on the upstairs until I've disposed of most of the stuff piled up in the end of the living room. I could feel myself getting stressed out about the disruption so have decided to wait and have all the messy work (bathroom, bedroom, en-suite, living room, hall/stairs/landing) done in one big hit next year, probably after Easter at the earliest.  It's obviously the correct way forward for me as I can feel the relief and the improvement in my mood since I made the decision.

Today's photo is also a candidate for the scavenger hunt - no. 1 fuzzy

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Day 19: 5 in 5

I haven't joined in with Sandie's 5 in 5 for ages so I'm sharing a set of photos taken during the Harry Potter Tour which were taken in a five minute period (well, sort of!) and are also for the summertime photo scavenger hunt.

These are possibles for no. 15 - something crafted from wood

quidditch score board
quidditch beater's bats
I thought this was the tower the goblet of fire stood on, but now I'm not sure. Any ideas?
Mrs Weasley's clock in The Burrow
a selection of wands

I didn't get out to the garden yesterday and it doesn't look like it will happen today either. Today's photo shows, amongst the raindrops, the berries forming on the honeysuckle.

I have to go into town later - banking and pick up a few bits of shopping to get me through the week, and then I have to finish the printing. The problem yesterday wasn't the printer but all down to lack of organisation on my part ... I ran out of paper! 

Tonight is the monthly book group, discussing 'The Forgetting Time' by Sharon Guskin. Last night with J and the girls was good fun. B cooked a chicken curry and I was sent home with the leftovers, so that's today's meal sorted. It seems to be the week for kindnesses - flowers from family as thanks for sewing the labels on school uniforms, a gift of apples from my neighbour's tree and an offer from another neighbour to sort out the gravel for me. It's currently stored in the garage but I'm desperate to have the space back, so he's going to solve that problem for me. We just need a dry day and that'll be another thing ticked off the list.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Day 18: Keeping Busy

Today is all about the bitty stuff starting with a solicitor's appointment to swear an oath, then back home and a walk to the local post office to send the legal paperwork off (breathes a sigh of relief) and then a wander around to complete today's walk. I've completed my target of steps already this morning! This is the Kennet and Avon canal, further along from my home heading towards Semington.

To take me up to lunch time I have bits and bobs of paperwork to do - lots of tiny task which'll only take a few minutes each. I also want to print out the handouts for band on Saturday and the presentation letters for Thursday's band workshops in a local primary school. I bet the printer plays up ... it always does when I have a lot of printing to do!

This afternoon, if the rain hold off and assuming I've completed the printing, I need to continue tidying up in the garden. It's looking a bit battered out there this morning after yesterday's wind and rain. If that's not an option, then I'll get some more things ready for sale online.

Tonight, I've been invited to J's house for a meal and to say hello and goodbye to two of her daughters. L is home from working at a summer camp in Germany so there's all her adventures to hear about, and B is off to live in London on Saturday as she's going back to university to complete a Masters degree.

Tomorrow will be a lot more relaxed!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Day 16: Does Anyone Recognise This Plant?

I planted this myself but can't remember what it's called and can't find the label from when I planted it. Does anyone recognise it, please? The flower isn't fully open yet and there are loads more buds still waiting to do their stuff, so I'll be able to take a better photo when it is putting on more of a show.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Day 15: Take Three Thursday ... on Friday!

Better late than never, here are the three photos I intended to share yesterday for Take Three Thursday. The current theme at the Harry Potter exhibition is to show the public more of the costumes from the films, so I had plenty of choice to find options for the scavenger hunt - no. 25 Hat.

the Hogwarts uniform worn by Harry in his first year
Professor McGonagall's robe and hat
Snape wearing Neville's grandmother's clothes - during the lesson on banishing boggarts by using the Riddikulus spell
Today's photo shows the two chocolate frogs I bought for Little Miss C and Little Miss H.

Little Miss C is reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the very first time, so I thought it'd be nice for her to have a chocolate frog to open at the same time that Harry open's his on his first train journey to Hogwarts. Her sister is too small to be reading the books but I couldn't leave her out, so she's got one too!