Saturday, 30 June 2018

Waffling On ....

I don't really have anything special to tell you so I'll just waffle on for a while ...

Thursday night at the Family History Society was better than I was expecting. I'm attending the Westbury branch of the society as the Trowbridge branch seems to have fizzled out through lack of enthusiasm, so I was a little worried that I wouldn't know anyone.  However, about twenty people turned up  and were all very friendly - a couple of ladies took me under their wings to make sure I knew where to get drinks, raffle tickets, and about signing in. This particular meeting was one of the members giving a talk on the history of policing in Westbury. He'd researched this himself and related the subject of crime, punishments and the establishment of the police force to events and individuals in the town. I'm very interested in local history anyway so this sort of thing was right up my street.

The talk, with questions and answers after, lasted about 8o minutes and this was followed by the raffle. I won one prize and selected a little illustrated poetry book of 'Warning' by Jenny Joseph. This is the one that starts ... 'When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.' ... and is one of my favourite poems. Next month is a members night, which apparently means that people ask for help with aspects of research they may be finding difficult, and the other members will try to help. I've been introduced to a man (can't remember his name) who is researching the village of Imber which is where one branch of my family originated from, so we will both take print outs next time to compare. I think this sort of evening will be a good opportunity to get to know the other members, so I'm looking forward to the next time.

Friday was spent very quietly at home, not doing much and trying to shake off the start of a migraine. 

This morning was band practice. It was a bit of a strange morning as over half the players were away - it's that time of year with Brownies and Scout camps! - so the band was very depleted. I ended up playing cornet instead of my usual tenor horn to support the young girls playing the 2nd cornet part, so spent the entire morning sight-reading a different part to the one I usually play. My brain is feeling very tired now! I don't think anyone played too well today, too hot and the kids were lethargic after a hot, busy week at school. Hopefully, next week will be better!

It's 'Armed Forces Day' and there's a big event in the park which carries on tomorrow so I may have a walk around tomorrow to see what what's happening. I know I can definitely get one photo for the SPSH but there may be the chance of others so I don't want to miss the opportunity.

Friday, 29 June 2018

SPSH - June Link Up

Here's my offering for No 18 | Currency; Coinage or Paper (the odd, the different, the beautiful). This is a nine shilling note, very similar to the 10 shilling note that was legal tender until 1971 except that the ten has been changed to nine. The legal note was known colloquially as a ten bob note. This nine shilling, or nine bob, note, never existed as legal tender and this particular one (only printed on one side) is a take on the phrase "as much use as a nine bob note" meaning a waste of time and/or useless!

My other photos for the hunt can be found by following these links:

Stripes, a framed view, and glorious green

Something that could be from a favourite book, movie or song

Field of plenty

Many thanks to Mary-Lou who is organising the hunt and who will list all the other participants on her blog.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Family History

Yesterday was a lovely calm day and today will be more of the same. I have a couple of admin things I'd like to finish off but apart from that, the day is mine to do whatever I fancy.

A snuggle-up-on-the-sofa with coffee and book is bound to feature at numerous times throughout the day, but my main focus will be on updating the family tree. I still have to transfer all the data from the old laptop and then merge that information with more recent online research. I keep putting it off which is silly as it won't take that long to do and once completed will make all future research much easier to follow. I've recently joined the Wiltshire Family History Society and will be going to my first monthly meeting tonight, so I want to refresh my memory on exactly where I am with my research to date.

I'm not really sure what to expect from this society as I don't have a clear idea about the monthly meetings. All I know is that tonight there will be a short talk on the history of the police followed by a raffle and refreshments, and that occasionally they organise trips to the National Archives at Kew and/or the Society of Genealogists in London. I'll let you know how I get on.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018


It's another quiet day at home with absolutely nothing planned. It's still very hot out there but there is a lovely refreshing breeze, so my wishes have been answered.

I (intentionally) slept in late, had a long cool shower and then ate my breakfast out on the patio, which is still in the shade as the sun doesn't get to the back of the house until late morning. I've tidied the kitchen and decided on my meals for the day (nothing requiring slaving over a hot stove!) and have chosen a new book to start reading later on. Apart from that, all I've done is book a couple of tickets for things I want to do. The first is a trip to the local ODEON on July 5th to see the musical, 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie', which is being broadcast live from the Apollo Theatre in London. My second treat is on August 4th when I'll be going on the Chained Library tour at Wells Cathedral, something I've been wanting to do for years but have never got round to organising before.

I'm going to settle down with a coffee now and catch up with emails, and then this afternoon will start on my new book. This evening I'll, maybe, manage a bit of weeding in the garden once the heat has gone out of the day but will definitely give everything a good watering.

The photo was taken a couple of weeks ago in the early evening light.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Feeling The Heat!

I don't do this sort of heat! I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling like a wet rag so I'm secretly hoping for it to cool down a bit a lot so I can enjoy the summer sunshine without melting! Either that, or can we have a lovely cooling breeze please? 

In the end I didn't get much sorting done yesterday. I was defeated by the heat and spent most of the afternoon flopped on the sofa with the fan going full blast. It's a shame it's this week and not next, because then I could have put the afternoon to good use and settled down to watch the start of the tennis at Wimbledon. It used to be a 'must watch' activity when we were growing up - life was arranged around the Wimbledon matches and I can remember racing home from school to get homework finished before settling in front of the TV. I sort of lost interest when it became the big power hitting games accompanied, it seemed, by lots of grunting from many of the top players. My late partner wasn't particularly interested in tennis and we just drifted to other interests as often happens in life. However, I caught some of the matches at Queen's last week and that little spark of interest has been reignited so I think I'll do the Wimbledon fortnight this year, for the first time in many years. Anyway, getting back to the problem of the sorting, I doubt I'll get much done if this heat continues for the rest of the week but I'll carry on and do what I can and just not beat myself up about what's still left to do.

Yesterday evening was spent on the phone. I'm obviously on people's minds for some reason and had calls from family and friends which took up most of the evening. It was good to catch up with everyone and also lovely to have an evening without TV. What wasn't so good was having to water the garden much later than normal (because people wouldn't take the hint and get off the phone!); I was too tired and didn't really want to do it but had no choice as I knew the plants in pots would be bone dry as I didn't do all of them yesterday. It was also dark, which wouldn't have been too bad if the external light had been working, but it wasn't so I had to manage with the available light from the house. I probably ended up missing the pots completely and just washing the patio instead, but at least I went to bed feeling that I'd done a good job! I'll give them all extra care and attention today.

I'll be teaching this afternoon and then waiting in for a delivery from Tesco. I've opted for a flexible delivery slot as it's much cheaper so the delivery will arrive anytime between 4 pm and 8 pm. If it arrives early enough I'll be going out for a meal with friends but if not, they'll come here and we'll have a meal delivered. This is a last minute get together, only arranged this morning, so it all has to fit around my food delivery as the cupboards are almost bare - a bit of an exaggeration but I really don't want to reschedule the delivery!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Monday Musings

After a riotous, but fun, band session on Saturday morning the rest of the weekend was spent quietly at home, just pottering around the garden and catching up on a couple of things around the home.

I'm making a conscious effort to slow down the pace of my life. My default setting seems to be to rush from one thing to the next and to keep going until I burn out and am forced to stop and recharge the batteries. There's no longer a need to be living like that as I don't have to fit things in around my teaching commitments, so I'm actively trying to find that happy balance between being busy enough (so that things get done), having time to socialise with family and friends, and time to simply enjoy my own company. It's a work in progress!

This week has been put aside for reorganising the cupboards in the music room and the upstairs hobbies room. I want to finish clearing out all the things I no longer want to keep. This'll be boxed up until I decide how and where to dispose of it. Once that's done I'll see how much space I have and then decide on new places for the the things I want to keep. It's one of those tasks that'll take ages, will make the place look a lot worse in the early stages, but which'll be worth doing and which I'll benefit from once it's done. Hopefully! 

The sunset photo was taken from the back bedroom window last night.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Friday, 22 June 2018

At Home

It's a stay-at-home-and-do-some-chores sort of day today. I've cleaned the kitchen and dining room, have loaded the washing machine with the first lot of laundry, and am now taking a short break to write this post. That'll leave just enough time to clean the toilets and bathrooms before lunch.

This afternoon I need to get ready for tomorrow's band session. All of the children are attending for the full 3 hours and it's our games morning (similar to moving on day in primary schools) to allow the beginners to get to know their seating position in the bigger, more advanced band, and to allow all the children to get to know each other. This is a team building event and starts with the more advanced players teaching the beginners to play a new piece of music; usually successful but myself and the other adults are on hand to correct any mistakes! This is followed by various group games, lots of chocolate and sweets, and more noise than they ever make with their instruments!

Tonight will be a quiet night in and I think it'll be a good time to start watching the repeats of Doctor Who on BBC iPlayer. I need to have watched the Christopher Eccleston series before I next meet with A so we can compare notes.

Enough chat, time to attack the bathrooms ...

Thursday, 21 June 2018

The Lavender Farm

Leaving home this morning it seemed to be the perfect day for a trip to the lavender farm - bright sunshine, just the sort of light I wanted for the photo I had in mind. I wanted to photograph the lavender crop, before they start harvesting it for the oils, as one of my many possibles for the SPSH. 

I headed off in that direction, but best laid plans .... the nearer I got to the farm, the more overcast it was. It was still warm but no longer bright sunshine and changing to be a really dull, flat light. Add to that the fact that the crop isn't quite ready, it doesn't seem to be a very good crop this year anyway, there were large patches where the lavender hasn't grown/flowered, and it was obvious that my imagined photo wasn't going to happen today!

This was the best of the bunch and is for No 10 | a field of plenty.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Back On My Feet

I've managed to get downstairs after three days unable to leave my bed after being poleaxed by flu like symptoms. I still feel worn out but my temperature is back to normal and the horrible symptoms have disappeared, so am definitely on the mend. Why is illness so tiring? I've made myself eat some solid food and have been drinking plently of fluids but I think it'll be a few more days before I'm back to normal. I've cancelled diary appointments for the next couple of days, have nothing planned anyway for the other weekdays, so will have a relaxing week to rest. Back soon. 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Waiting In ...

... for a couple of workmen today. One of the new French doors needs to be adjusted as it isn't closing properly, and I have someone calling in to quote for the cost of decorating once all the improvements are completed. I don't have a firm time for either person so am resigned to waiting in all day.

Yesterday didn't quite go according to plan as I didn't get as much done in the garden as I'd hoped. I've finished the weeding as planned but the planting was hard work as it is clay soil, currently rock solid, and the effort needed was causing pain in my eye so I gave up. The promised rain happened overnight so that may have helped and I'll try again later this morning. If I still can't manage it I'll have to admit defeat and ask for help.

The plant in the photo is a spirea. I think it's 'Little Princess' but am not entirely sure as it's one of the plants I bought from the 'save-me-I'm-dying' selection at the garden centre last year and it wasn't labelled properly. It's currently in a pot but will be replanted in front of one of the climbing roses to add a bright splash of colour to that part of the garden.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Garden, Friends and a Quiet Evening In

The photo has nothing to do with today's waffling but I like it so thought I'd share it with you!

I've slept well but have woken very early (practically the middle of the night) and don't feel much like getting out of bed and starting the day. Weather permitting (the forecast is for some rain) I have an industrious morning in the garden to look forward to. I want to finish weeding the righthand side of the garden, start planting some bulbs, and cover each planting pocket with bark as I go. I'll do another skip run if I have time. It's going to look a bit sparse this year but it's all I can manage for now.

After lunch I'm spending the afternoon with Lauren, mostly for a chat and a catch up but also to read through her final uni assignment before she submits it (I'm her spellchecker!) - the end of an era and it's all change from now on.

As for tonight, I don't know. I haven't planned anything so will see what the day brings and how I feel.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018


I'm too tired to think of a proper title for this post - sleep was elusive last night so I have no energy this morning. I didn't get to sleep before about 4:25 am (the last time I remember looking at the clock) and was wide awake again at 7:00 am. I don't plan on doing too much today although I do have to teach this afternoon.

I've been (trying) to make my final decision on what I want in the bathroom and ensuite. The only certainty is that I want white and I have chosen the replacement bath, which'll be ordered as soon as the sales start. I have an idea of the toilets for both rooms but need to hold off ordering until the work starts. I've narrowed the choice down to two styles but it all depends on whether the pipework, currently boxed in at floor level along two walls, can be hidden either below the floor or in the wall. Hopefully it can and then I'll buy the flat to wall toilet for each room but if not it'll be my second choice which will fit in over the boxed in pipes. The sink in the ensuite isn't being changed but it's the replacement one for the family bathroom which is causing the problems. I keep changing my mind about what I want! I originally wanted a counter-top basin but can't really find one I like in my price range, and most are too shallow to be  practical. There isn't enough room for a basin with vanity unit as the position of the toilet will prevent the doors opening properly. I'll have to take some measurements (again!) and trawl around the local bathroom showrooms looking for ideas.

My must do task for today is to place the adverts for the rest of the furniture I want to sell, and I'll do that when I get back after teaching. I've chosen, but not yet ordered, the new mahogany TV table/unit but still have to decide on the seating for the living room - I still can't decide whether to have leather or fabric but am going to have to make my mind up soon as it needs to be ordered. I also have to decide on the bedroom furniture. There's a new oak furniture showroom in town so that seems as good a place to start as any. It's just the bed and two small bedside tables needed as there are built in cupboards in the room for all my clothes.

Time for coffee, I think. Hope you all have a good day.

Monday, 11 June 2018

A Good Start To The Week

This is the first time I've been able to catch up with myself all day. I overslept, which started the day off with a mad panic (I'm good at those!) as I had an appointment with the optician and I didn't want to have to reschedule. I made it on time ... just, and left with the good news that my right eye is continuing to heal as expected. I'm expecting a hospital appointment for the follow up on my left eye so hopefully that be good news as well.

Then it was over to Bradford on Avon for a few games of Rummikub. We played four games and I won three of them so left feeling quite chuffed with myself! I didn't have to concentrate as much on the new rules this week, so had more time to think about the game play. 

Back home and I loaded the car with rubbish for the skip. This was all things from the house and garage rather than the garden waste. I must have looked pathetic or something because one of the men who works at the skip unloaded and disposed of the entire car load for me. Brilliant service! I'm leaving the garden waste until Wednesday.

Lunch today was a pasta bake - too filling on a hot day like today and left me feeling very lethargic. I'd planned to go to Bath in the afternoon to take some more photos for the SPSH but decided against it and ended up out in the garden instead. I've cleared another big bag of weeds, including some of the thistles and nettles which were much easier to get out than I thought they'd be - I'm going to buy some much thicker gardening gloves before I tackle the rest though! I tidied the rest of the pots, tied up one of the roses, and encouraged the clematis to spread out over its trellis. As I'm making space with all the weeding it's becoming clear that there are way too many crocosmia so will move some to the front garden after they've flowered, along with the hydrangea (currently in a pot but not happy in the back garden, so will see if it feels more at home at the front of the house - it'll have to take a chance on being moved) and will take the heathers from the front garden and move them to the back of the house.

As soon as I finish this post I'll grab my book and a coffee and put my feet up for a while and I may go for a walk along the canal later on if it cools down. Tomorrow is shopping, teaching and a 'bring and share' meal with friends.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

A Quiet Sunday

It will have to be an easy day today. I've woken with a bad headache and it's painful to move at all. I don't think it's the start of a migraine (thank goodness), it feels more like a pressure headache - as if there is going to be a thunderstorm, although there's no mention that we're due one on any of the forecasts. I've taken some tablets in the hope they will get rid of it.

Yesterday evening was spent quietly at home and, for a change, the Saturday TV was good and there were things on I wanted to watch. My first choice was the film 'Maleficent', which I'd missed when it was originally released in the cinema. An interesting twist to the tale of Sleeping Beauty and I enjoyed it, although it hasn't made the list of films I'd want to watch again. One home cooked chicken curry from the freezer later, and I settled down to watch the highlights of the Trooping the Colour ceremony. I love all of our traditions and would have watched the entire event in the morning if I hadn't had band practice. This was followed by the first episode of a detective series called Hidden. So far so good, and I wasn't put off by the occasional conversations in the Welsh language and the need for subtitles, but whether I'll actually remember to watch the rest of the series is another question completely - my past record shows that I won't! My final choice of the evening was 'Thor: The Dark World', just a bit of mindless superhero fantasy to finish off the day!

This morning so far, in addition to feeling a bit sorry for myself (headache, see first paragraph) I've finished reading the chosen book for the next book group meeting, 'This is Going To Hurt: Diaries of a Junior Doctor' by Adam Kay, which was very funny but also a worrying insight to the state of the NHS. I think there will be some lively discussions about it.

Despite how I feel today, I'm starting to see some payoffs from my efforts to improve my fitness. In the past week my daily steps have gradually increased and I'm averaging about 5,500 steps every day. It doesn't sound much but the good news is that there is still no severe pain from the knee injury and the constant pain from the arthritis is easing off a little. That in itself makes the effort worthwhile. I was contacted by the local coordinator about the referral for reduced gym membership and was delighted to be told that the reduced rate applies for a year, not the six weeks I'd previously been told. I'm booked in for my initial assessment on the 20th and, as I want to use the gym rather than the pool, will be given a bespoke exercise programme to follow, which will be reviewed after six and twelve weeks. 

I thankfully don't have any plans for today. I was going to take the garden waste to the skip but that can wait until tomorrow, so I'm going to go back to bed to see if some more sleep will shift the headache.  Hope you all have a good day. 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

A Sunny Saturday

Not that I saw much of the sun this morning as it was the first session for the youth band after the half term break, but it was lovely to see them all again. We're now working to combine the bands, so promoting the beginners I've been teaching all year into the junior band, and promoting the juniors into the main band. It's a big learning curve and sometimes children can struggle at this stage, but so far this year we haven't had any issues.

As soon as band finished it was back home for lunch (boiled egg and soldiers) and then an hour out in the garden. I've cleared out a couple of pots and tidied another one, and also removed the weeds from one of the planting areas. It was too hot to be outside any longer, so I decided that I'd done enough for today and came back inside.

Here's some photos of what's happening in the garden now. This clematis is growing against the trellis on the back wall of the house. I don't know what it's called as it was planted by the previous owners, but I love the colour. It had to be moved when the hard landscaping was done last year and is now in a pot, but it seems to be happy in its new home and has recovered well.

This is one of the climbing roses I planted last year. The label assured me it was white but the rose doesn't seem to know that. It goes through several colour changes, starting out a bright apricot and fading through pinks to end with white petals.  

Another clematis, this one with big blooms - they're about 5 inches across. I planted it last year and after a slow start, has loads of flowers this year.

The crab apple tree is coming on well and will have some fruit this year. The fruit will stay very small and it isn't considered to be any good for cooking, but it is liked by the birds which is the main reason I chose this one.

These roses actually belong to my neighbour and have grown tall enough to see over the fence. This is a possibility for the SPSH, No 20 | mellow yellow

Friday, 8 June 2018

A Garden Update

The garden is a mess! Unavoidable as I couldn't do anything once the problem with my eyes reared it's ugly head, but things are improving on that front so it's time to tackle the weeds. And the nettles. And the thistles. 

This is what it looked like a few days ago.

I've set myself a mini project to encourage me to work on this - by the end of June my aim is to have cleared the planting pockets you can see in the first photo and put down some bark or membrane to restrict the regrowth of weeds until I feel able to do the rest. I also want to tidy the rest of the pots and get them moved to their new positions (once I can persuade someone to do the heavy work!).

Since these photos were taken the roses have started flowering, as has the clematis and the other climber whose name I can't remember, and the crocosmia foliage is putting on a good show although no sign of the flower spikes yet! 

Now a bit of a quiz ... do any of you clever gardeners recognise these plants please? I don't remember planting them but did throw some seeds down last year, or are they weeds and so need to go?

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Take Three Thursday (and SPSH)

For the first time in ages I am sharing three photographs for Mary-Lou's 'Take Three Thursday', where we are asked to share three photos that are linked in some way.

I am sharing three more photos from yesterday's trip to Avebury. I asked for good weather and was lucky to have bright sunlight but I was in the wrong place at the wrong time for these and, if I'd had enough time, would have waited for the sun to move round.

Here's three photos of the wishing tree at Avebury. The first one is a possibility for the SPSH, No 16 | something that could be from a favourite book/movie. Every time I sees these trees with their amazing roots I think of the enchanted trees in Prince Caspian, part of the Narnia series of books by CS Lewis.

Edited to add - or part of the forbidden forest in Harry Potter. Maybe, as it is a wishing tree it could be the tree in the book 'The Wishing Tree' by Ruth Chew, or the wishing tree that Winnie the Pooh and friends went searching for in the TV series.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt

I'm a bit late with this post as the hunt, organised by Mary-Lou over at Patio Postcards ,  started on June 1st and will run until September 30th. As usual, the hunt is open to everyone so please feel free to join in.

Here's the list:

  1. The Rosiness Of Red
  2. Stripes
  3. A Framed View
  4. Wings
  5. Pedal Power
  6. Glorious Green
  7. An Unexpected Reflection 
  8. A Pile Of
  9. Looks Smaller Than You
  10. A Field of Plenty
  11. Pretty In Pink
  12. Bell(s)
  13. Equal Portions
  14. A Trilogy Of Three
  15. Out Of The Blue 
  16. Something That Could Be From A Favourite Book/Movie
  17. Re-purposed
  18. Currency; Coinage or Paper (the odd, the different, the beautiful)
  19. Picture Postcard Perfect
  20. Mellow Yellow
Alternate A: a shopping bag (not the store's plastic)

Alternate B: a coupon to use

I started my search for photos today. I went to Avebury and Silbury Hill, and whilst I didn't manage to get the photo I'd gone for, I did take four other possibles.

No 2 | stripes. This was a lucky find - I parked in a lay-by to the side of the Beckhampton roundabout and just glanced to my left!

No 3 | a framed view. I took quite a lot for this particular prompt but didn't really like them when I viewed them on the laptop. This is the best so far ...

and finally (for now!) No 6 | Glorious Green - a view of Silbury Hill followed by a closer shot of the long grass. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Making a Start ...

Sorry, the garden update I promised will have to wait because I can't upload the photos I want to include with the post. I should have a bit more time tomorrow so will try again then.

So, I bored you all with the massive list of changes I want to make to my life and yesterday was day one - no more thinking about it, time to get started. I'd contacted all the people who run the various U3A groups I'm interested in and, while most of them want me to wait until membership is confirmed, the Rummikub organiser was happy for me to join in straight away.  

The session is currently run from his home and I admit to some reservations about going to a complete (male) stranger's home. I used to work with a woman who is also involved in the same U3A organisation so sounded her out about him. I was reassured that he is a true gentleman and there's absolutely nothing to worry about, so I turned up for the first session yesterday morning. As it turned out it was only the the two of us but I felt completely at ease and spent a lovely couple of hours playing the game and generally just chatting. He wants to play the original rules which were easy to pick up and makes for a better game, but I'll need a bit more practice before I'm able to beat him. We've arranged to meet again next Monday, so the first group I tried has a tick in the box - I hope the others work out as well. 

I've also made a start on the daily walking. So far, I've just been responding to the fitbit reminders to do at least 250 steps every hour during a ten hour period. Before I hurt my knee I was easily achieving between 8,000 and 10,000 steps every day, if not more, and since I restarted my efforts have resulted in between 3,800 and 4,500 steps every day. Every step is felt, as my joints are stiff and painful from the osteoarthritis but is slowly getting easier and thankfully there is no sign of the severe pain from the cartilage tear. I'm definitely on the mend and heading in the right direction. 

I'll be teaching this afternoon (only four or five more sessions after today, so the countdown has started), then tonight I'm looking forward to a meal with Julie. Tomorrow, please keep your fingers crossed for good photography weather as I hope to make a start on the Summertime Photo Scavenger Hunt - more about that next time? 

Monday, 4 June 2018

Making Changes Part 3

.... continuing from yesterday ...

I have a tendency to be messy and untidy aound the house so I've been making an effort to tidy up and put things away before moving on to whatever has grabbed my attention next. By keeping the place tidy, the hoovering, dusting  and general cleaning routine is easier to tackle because I don't have to spend any time tidying up before I can get started, so that aspect of life is becoming less of a chore. I'm not perfect at it yet, but am getting better. It's a habit I need to work on until it becomes second nature but I definitely like the fact that the house always looks tidy enough for any unexpected visitors.

I still have to finish sorting out all the paperwork. I've worked out my system for my personal papers now, have started creating space for how I want to manage it and just need to get on and finish clearing the backlog. I also need to create a space for all the band stuff I have here and keep it all together in one place. The obvious space is the empty shelves that'll be left once I've cleared the unwanted teaching resources and reduced the number of music books I want to keep for my own personal use. That's all a work in progress, but I hope to be on top of it all by the end of July. Once it's all sorted and everything has a place it should be easy to maintain. I'll keep Friday as my admin day - personal admin will probably take less than thirty minutes each week but the band stuff will vary so I'm aiming to contain it this one session every week rather than letting it take over my life, which is what seems to happen from time to time!

Part of putting my paperwork in order includes the need to update and maintain my 'when I'm gone' folder. I want to amend my will and am also thinking about investigating the cost of paying for my funeral. I know this all sounds a bit morbid but it will make it easier for the ones who have to deal with it in the future.

And finally, it's time to replace some of my clothes, which I'll make a start on as soon as I lose the first stone. I've bought three new tops for the time being and am using the 'one in - one out' approach, so three old tops have been cut up for rags. I've decided that this new stage of my life deserves a set of clothing suitable for the social life and more active lifestyle I'm planning.

That's it, I've finished wittering on! A garden update and a bit of a quiz tomorrow.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Making Changes Part 2

.... carrying on from yesterday's post ....

I am making a real effort to eat healthily and to encourage some much needed weight loss. I'm sticking to my tried and tested method, which is basically calorie counting using the My Fitness Pal app. I lost three stone when I stuck to this approach properly so can't see any reason why it won't work well this time - I've lost two pounds this week, so a promising start. To back up this approach I've filled the freezer with home cooked portion controlled meals so that I won't be so tempted to give in and opt for takeaways. I'm not following any particular diet plan but will have sensible sized portions of whatever I fancy, but making sure that the calorie heavy ones are the occasional treat and not the norm. Nothing is off limits (except the foods I know I'm allergic to!) and it's just a case of making sensible choices. I have reduced the amount of red meat I eat, opt for fish regularly, and have three or four vegetarian days every week.

The garden is a mess and is getting me down so I'm setting myself a little challenge to try to get on top of it. I planted roses, clematis, crocosmia, and the crab apple tree last year and they are all looking very healthy but I can't really appreciate them because of all the weeds. All this rain we've had has been lovely for the garden but the weeds have interpreted it as a invite to grow ... and grow ... and grow. I can't really do that much (because of the problems with my eyes) but I should be able to cope with weeding/tidying/clearing the pots and work my way through the weeding in the small triangular beds that run along two sides of the garden. I'm hoping to get all this done by the end of June, weather permitting. The front garden and the bigger patch behind the garage is heavier work so will have to wait for now, although I may ask family/friends if they can help out. 

I still have a few things to organise to get the house ready for the workmen in September, which seems ages away but will be here before I know it! I have to decide what I want to do with the Olympus system (film) cameras we used prior to digital and either sell them or find a home for them. I still have to clear out the remainder of the teaching resources, have a few bits of furniture to sell and need to pack away the ornaments and pictures in the rooms where the work will be done. 

Part 3 tomorrow!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Making Changes

I've been drifting through the last couple of weeks, not doing anything much and generally feeling dissatisfied with life, so it's time to make some changes. Apart from a couple of evenings spent with friends I haven't left the house and most days have passed without speaking to another person. If I'm not careful, this could become my new routine, not what I want at all, so I've spent the last couple of days reviewing and revising the lists I mentioned in this post to see what I can do easily and quickly - I now have only one school commitment (until July) so I don't need to wait any longer to start making the changes.

Physio finished this morning and I'm now waiting for the details about the offer for reduced gym membership. This is something I definitely want to do to strengthen the muscles in my legs so that walking and movement in general is less painful. The reduced membership is for twelve weeks so that'll be my focus to start with. Once walking is easier, there are plenty of walking groups in the area and my medium term aim is to be able to walk regularly with one of them. I have to wait for the initial assessment at the gym so will start walking around the house, garden and local area to rebuild my stamina while I'm waiting. My Fitbit is being recharged as I write this post!

I'm currently trying to join the local U3A but there is a problem with accessing the application form so am waiting for them to get back to me. Once membership is approved I'll try out a couple of monthly groups (family history and another book group) and a couple of fortnightly groups (scrabble and rummikubs), and just see how I get on. There's also Scottish dancing, a couple of photography options, and a local history/architecture if my first choices don't work out for any reason. I've rejoined the Wilts Family History Society which is another monthly activity to add to the list, and also signed up for a local film society which is a fortnightly event. With my friends from the monthly book group I organise, we now have a regular monthly quiz team and have also agreed to start going to the cinema more often. This next bit will make you laugh ... well, it makes me laugh anyway ... I've also been persuaded to have a go at playing table top Dungeons and Dragons with a group that meets on a Sunday. I used to play it years ago but as a board game ... I think this will be much more serious and hopefully, good fun. It all sounds a lot doesn't it but isn't that much - six evening and six daytime things each month, a couple of hours each event and the chance to meet some new people, plus band every Saturday and a daily fitness activity. There will be roughly thirteen/fourteen days every month when I have nothing arranged. 

Nothing much is happening on the house so it's definitely not going to be finished before September/October at the earliest. Eventually I'd like to be in a position to invite friends round for coffee mornings or for film evenings. One idea is to agree a couple of rolling monthly date with friends, for example the first Thursday of every month at 10:00 am (for coffee mornings) or the last Wednesday of every month at 7:30 pm (for film nights) so people know to keep those dates free and whoever can make it, just turns up. This will hopefully do away with the need to organise arrangements to meet every single time but is something that I need to discuss with friends next time we all meet up. 

I'm off to meet a friend for lunch now so will be back tomorrow with part 2!