Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Weather Forecast ...

... was right, for once. It's been raining on and off during the day so I thought it would be too wet to settle but it started snowing about 15 minutes ago and, yes, it's settling! I'm glad I decided to stay at home.

We don't cope well with snow in this country, so all the people experiencing much more extreme conditions in Canada and the USA have my heartfelt sympathy.

The Chicken Jug

The kitchen window is looking a bit empty! There were two pots of cacti which had belonged to my late partner  but, not being a lover of cacti, I didn't want to keep them so recently donated them to Lauren. She already has a small collection so she was happy and I was glad to see the back of them, so a win-win resolution. I now need to think about how to use the space. The chicken jug was a birthday gift from Julie and will definitely be staying but may end up on display in the dresser. I'll probably add a row of small pots to grow some of the herbs I use. I'd like to copy an idea I've seen online so need to look for some suitable pots - the ones I'm copying the idea from are way too expensive for me so I'm going for the homemade cut-price version. I'm not saying any more so you'll have to wait a few weeks for the reveal!

In the end I didn't finish the admin tasks yesterday. I suppressed the guilty feeling and snuggled up with my book for the rest of the day ... and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The adult part of my brain has kicked in this morning and I've tackled all of the admin that needs to be done. Apart from a bit more sorting through stuff still in cupboards (most of which will be shredded or filed) I think that the personal admin side of life is pretty much up to date and I just have the band stuff to check through, but that is a task for tomorrow.

I'm supposed to be spending the evening with Julie and Lauren (yet another takeaway, at their home this time!) but we may postpone till next week. The forecast is for snow this evening and, although I don't think it will settle, I don't want to be driving home in the dark with poor weather conditions. We'll make the decision later on today.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Yet More Admin!

It's another day in my playroom today, trying not to get distracted but stayed focused on finishing off the bits of admin still outstanding. I'm not sure that I'll be successful as I really want to carry on with my book ... and I can hear the snuggle blanket calling my name!

The Girls' Night In get-together last night was a complete success and we've updated our diaries for the next month so I have plenty to look forward to. 

I've taken some more photos for the WPSH. I'll add the linky by the end of the week so we can see how everyone is getting on.

No 3 | fastener, the zip on one of my camera bags

No 8 | chocolate, several bars of chocolate were eaten in pursuit of this photo!

No 16 | a measurement, the flood marker on the road between Holt and Staverton.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019


Getting the house back in some sort of order is progressing nicely and I’m enjoying finding places for all the things I want to keep. The kitchen however, is long overdue a good clear out so as I need to find so more space it’s the focus of my sorting time today.

I started on the spices. For some reason, people think I use a lot of spices in my cooking; I use some but not the variety I have been gifted over the last few years and the additional two spice racks I received at Christmas are the straw that have broken this camel's back.

I emptied the spices cupboard onto the table and this is my collection of spices ... although, to be completely accurate, I should say that this was my collection of spices. I've been ruthless and got rid of over half the jars and the two turntable racks (but have kept some of the jars from those racks). I've only kept the ones I know that I'll use and my much reduced collection of spices now fits on one shelf in the cupboard ... much more sensible. 

I have a few admin type things to do today, assigned to me at the committee meeting last night, but they shouldn't take long to do. Then it's either some more sorting or, if I can find the energy, go out for a short walk to get some fresh air. 

I have three friends coming round tonight for our monthly Girls' Night In, arriving at 7pm for a takeaway, watch a film together and then chat. We'll also check diaries to arrange the next few dates for quizzes, cinema (assuming there are films that people want to see), the next Girls' Night In, and anything else that takes our fancy. I like to have something in the diary to look forward to.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Monday is Admin Day

Monday is now designated as my admin day. The sorting I've been doing has generated a pile of papers that need to be filed, I have to catch up with the band admin (which has taken a bit of a back seat lately) and, if I am going to resume teaching I will need some plans and possibly resources.

Actually, the teaching side won't generate much extra work. When teaching individuals I don't use the detailed lesson plans I needed when doing whole class teaching but will use the system I followed when I was working full time. As progress in an instrumental lesson is determined by the amount of practice a child does each week, I quickly found that I was wasting my time with detailed lessons plans which were rarely followed because the child hadn't practiced!  So I devised a workable system which consists of a high level overview of what needs to be taught at each stage of learning (i.e. scales, technique, theory, etc.) supported by resources and lists of pieces of music which would allow the child to learn and practice whatever was being taught. Luckily I didn't throw this away (because I thought it would be useful for band) so I just need to check for any gaps and print out some assessment/progress sheets for each child. Then I'm ready to start after half term and will only need to add to my resources if a child gets completely stuck at any stage and needs extra support over and above the vast range of goodies I already have.

Changing the subject ... does anyone use an iPhone to comment on blogs and if so, have you noticed any problems? Yesterday I answered all comments due a response from me as well as commenting on other blogs, all using my iPhone, and although the comments seemed to go through properly, I've checked and today there is no sign of them on my blog or any other blog. I've noticed before that some of my comments seem to go missing so this may be the reason. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced this. I doubt I will go back and re-comment but will make sure I use the laptop from now on.

I've paid the final invoice for the recent work so now I know how much money I have left and can decide what else I want to do now and what will have to wait until I've saved up again. The outstanding work which I'd like to have done and dusted is the replacement of the internal door handles and the final bits of decorating, both of which I have asked for quotes and timescales for completion. The SONOS multi-room audio system will probably have to wait for the next sale but I will be shopping for bedding, towels and throws as soon as possible. The new pictures for the living room will probably have to wait a while but I will get the shelving done asap, assuming that N says that the timber studs on the internal wall are sufficient to support them ... fingers crossed on that one. 

This evening it is the band committee meeting, rescheduled because I couldn't make the last one so they cancelled until I was better ... probably for the best because you tend to find that you have volunteered for everything in your absence when you don't attend!

Sunday, 27 January 2019


I overslept! Luckily I haven't made any arrangements for today so the day is my own to do what I please. So far I've had breakfast (scrambled eggs on toast, a baby orange and a mug or two of coffee), checked my diary (definitely nothing on today!), and made of list of things I want to discuss at the band committee meeting tomorrow night. And that's it ... there's nothing else that desperately needs to be done so, once I finish typing this post, I am doing nothing! My book is ready and waiting for me, I found a cuddle blanket when I was looking for the missing sheets (but didn't find the sheets!) and I just need to close the blinds until the sun moves round to the back of the house ... I'm all set!

Strictly speaking, doing nothing isn't true as I'm thinking. A couple of comments yesterday (from Joy and Mary-Lou) helped clarify my thinking about doing a couple of hours of music lessons every week, so many thanks to both of you. Joy mentioned that I won't be dealing with school politics and restraints, and Mary-Lou referred to me 'returning to work'. Reading the comments was a bit of a light-bulb moment for me as I realised that in my head I categorise this potential teaching as an extension of band, which is just spending time doing something that I love and don't in any way see it as 'work'. The lack of school politics and restraints is a biggie to consider as without those impacting on life I would probably still be teaching, although maybe cutting down the workload. I can also choose who I teach, so won't be in the situation of trying to teach a child to play an instrument just because the parents want it - I've had to do too many lessons where the child simply didn't want to learn and the parents wouldn't listen ... not much fun for the child or me! I suppose the next step is to gauge the level of interest in blocks of private lessons and take it from there, but I think it's a 'yes' to teaching for a couple of hours after school every week. I actually feel quite excited about the thought of it!

Saturday, 26 January 2019


It was band practice as usual this morning. The flowers are a thank you gift from one young boy who has decided to leave - I've been teaching him for the last five years, since he was seven, but since he's moved up to senior school he is struggling to make the commitment the band requires. I'm hoping that, after a break, he will miss it enough to rejoin- his mum hopes that'll happen too.

One of the parents at band had asked if I'd consider providing private music lessons to her daughter. My instinct was to say 'yes' as I like the child, think she will respond well and I sort of miss teaching individual lessons so doing this will be like cherry-picking the best bits of teaching. However, there are a few important factors on the 'no' side - it's a commitment which if I take it on ties me back to school terms although I'm sure they will be flexible if I want to go on holiday during term time, there won't be any travelling as they will come to me but ... do I want to 'work' from home again, and the reason I retired early was on medical advice so will even this tiny amount of teaching introduce stress back into my life. 

There's a lot to consider but I'm giving it some serious thought. I think it'll be a case of wanting to do more than one lesson a week to make setting the time aside be worth my while. I may ask around to see if any of the other parents would be interested and offer blocks of 10 lessons at a time, focusing on a particular issue/technique, rather than entering into an open ended unlimited number of lessons arrangement. Like I say, it needs some thought!

I don't have plans for the rest of the weekend but definitely no sorting of any kind, although thinking about it, I'll need to clear the music room before any home tuition could start ... maybe that'll be the incentive to make me get it finished!

Friday, 25 January 2019

My Bedroom

So here's a peek at my bedroom. Despite my best intentions I still haven't moved back into this room yet ... guess who packed away the new mattress cover and sheets for this size bed and now can't find them? I also need to raise the headboard so that the mattress fits properly but I need a second pair of hands to do it, so am waiting for friends to visit and will then volunteer them to help!

January Scavenger Hunt

It's time to show my selection for Kate's monthly scavenger hunt. It's been a last minute panic to get them all sorted and I've had to resort to a couple from my archives (note to self: don't leave it till the last minute and do better next time!).

Metallic | here's two of the bags I received at Christmas, filled with delightful goodies. The gold one hasn't photographed too well but I hope you can see that it is glittery.

Plate | I found this brass plate among my late partner's things. I have no idea where it came from but it amused me.

Made | a back view of the Joseph coat I made some years ago for one of my schools to use in their summer production. It has been used by many other children since in other schools, at summer camps and for fancy dress days at school. It was worth the effort!

Aged | this one is from my archives and shows one of the books in the chained library at Wells Cathedral. This importance of this book is that the book was owned and annotated in red ink by Thomas Cranmer (1489 - 1556).

Modern | I couldn't decide how to photograph 'modern' so in the end settled for the changes we see around for the introduction of electric cars. This is one of the charging stations in a local car park.

Own Choice | this isn't the photograph I was intending to use but it caught my eye when I was searching back through my old photographs. I love the colour in this one.

Many thanks to Kate for organising this link up.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Bathroom (3)

The final shot of the bathroom with the new sink unit and mirror above. The mirror needs a good clean but guess who stupidly left the stepladder in the music room and then stacked loads of boxes in front of it? It'll just have to wait! I still need to fix the cabinet door handles, clear the window sill and arrange for the blind to be put back up, and have to decide whether I want wall mounted toilet roll holder, soap dish and toothbrush glass - all easy tasks which won't take long to sort out. 

You can see the gap around the toilet and the base of the cabinet where the vinyl has been cut and it's also more noticeable by the bath panel and near the door. The company contacted me yesterday to express their 'concern' that I had complained but did admit that the fitters should have finished off properly. He was going to arrange for them to return but I've declined and will arrange with N or my nephew for it to be finished off properly.

I had a lovely time with Lauren last night. I don't often get to see her on her own as usually her mum is there, so it was completely different, but so lovely to focus on her for a change. I need to remember this in the future and arrange to spend more time with just her. Later this morning G will be here to cut my (naturally curly) hair and leave me feeling human again. Then this evening it's the Family History Society meeting but I doubt I will go as it is all about an ongoing project they've been doing for the past year which I'm not involved in. That's the trouble with joining a society in a nearby town where my real interest is in my home town. The Trowbridge one (the one I really need to join) seems to have died out so I may try contacting the person who used to run it to see if there is any scope for resurrecting the group.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

The Bathroom (2)

Well ... the vinyl is down in both bathrooms, I’m happy with my choice of flooring and it looks good except ... they didn’t seal around the edges and it all looks a bit unfinished. I asked them about it but they were adamant that their worksheet didn’t tell them to do any sealing so as far as they were concerned, that was the end of the conversation. I’ve logged a complaint but to be honest I don’t want them back and will ask N to do it when he comes to change the door handles ... at least I know he will do a good job.

This room is difficult to photograph - the border tiles act as mirrors so reflections are a bit of a nightmare! This is the new shower with a folding shower screen. There wasn't a shower in this room before so it was always difficult when I had people staying overnight. All I need to do is buy some sort of shower caddy to hold shampoo etc. and then it's complete.

I got one of my photos yesterday but failed miserably on the second one so will have to have a rethink! The arm chair has been ordered in the same fabric as the sofas and should be delivered in about 6 - 8 weeks so that’s another thing ticked off the list. I didn’t buy the storage boxes because the were such poor quality so will have to look around for something else, and I didn’t find a top to match my skirt so will have to keep looking.

I’ll be cooking some meals to portion and put in the freezer this morning so there won’t be much sorting done today. The curtain fitter returns this afternoon to fit the final set of curtains and curtain pole in my bedroom and then that order is complete and I can think about finishing off my bedroom. 

I'm looking forward to this evening as Lauren is coming over for a meal, probably a Chinese takeaway (said with confidence as that's what she always chooses!). Her mum is away on holiday, so it’ll be a chance to focus on how she is and chat about her plans for the future now she has finished her university course.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Bathroom (1)

This is the family bathroom, taken early this morning before there was enough natural light, hence the dark shadows. It's actually a very bright, light room even if it doesn't look like it in the photo! Although it doesn't look like it, the entire border is made up of the pink/black ribbon tiles - they are glass hologram tiles and in real life the ribbon appears to 'move', depending on your angle of view. The pink is the dominant colour, even though some of them look black in this photo.

Yesterday turned out to be a very productive day with what felt like very little effort on my part. I spent 30 minutes tidying the playroom cupboards and in that time I was able to sort out four shelves - admittedly the easiest ones and I'm under no illusions that the rest will be as simple, but it was a good start. As well as moving out the stuff that belongs elsewhere I'm also reorganising each cupboard as I go along, so apart from one other shelf, everything else has to be moved between cupboards. 

I didn't start on the next box in the music room, choosing instead to sort through my undies and dispose of anything that no longer fitted or was long past its best. It didn't actually take that long but it's another thing ticked off the list. 

Later in the afternoon I started sorting through the Davenport, getting rid of lots of unwanted papers, organising the items to be kept into the side drawers and moving things like stamps, keepsakes and tokens into the inner drawers. I have the contents of three drawers still to sort through so that will be finished today sometime. It was a bit of a shock to find that the Davenport needs to be repaired (from being lifted/moved incorrectly) - I'm not sure when it happened but must date back to the previous house or the move to this one so it's been added to the list and I'll get it repaired when finances permit … it won't be cheap! 

The carpet fitters will be here later to finish off the vinyl flooring in the bathrooms so I can't go out until this afternoon. I need to go out today as the forecast isn’t brilliant for the next few days and I want to get two more photos for Kate’s scavenger hunt as we have to post them on our blog on Friday. I also need to confirm the order for the new armchair, buy some more plastic boxes/trays for the playroom cupboards, and look for a new top to go with a skirt I've had for ages but have never worn. All the stores are in the same retail park so I shouldn't be out for long. 

Monday, 21 January 2019

My Playroom (2)

I seem to have caught up with myself after a quiet weekend spent either watching TV or reading. Sunday was a jimjam day, not intentional, but I didn’t get dressed at all. It was bliss!

Today's photo shows the other end of the playroom. The blind on the table belongs in the en-suite but needs to be cut to size before it can be re-fitted (because of the new tiling). 

I plan to do some sorting today but will listen to my body and only attempt 30 minutes organising the cupboards in the playroom and however much I can deal with from the boxes in the music room in an additional 20 or 30 minutes. I’ve decided that by spending an hour every day on this will soon show results and it shouldn’t take too long to get it all finished.

Tomorrow should see the return of the carpet fitters with the vinyl flooring for the bathrooms (and they also have to sort out the carpet on one stair) and then that’ll be another thing crossed off the list.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

My Playroom

I've decided that it is Blogger messing up the colour of my photos as the original has captured the white of the walls, cupboards and tables accurately. Anyway, this is my playroom/study/workroom. This room was finished long before I started the recent improvements so ended up being the repository for everything that needed to be moved to clear the other rooms. I've now moved the majority of the bigger items back to their proper places around the house but have been left with the task of sorting out the three big cupboards in this room (I was standing in front of the third one to take the photo). As you can see, I've just crammed things in and it now needs to be sorted - I think I may have a mild case of OCD as the jumble on each shelf makes me feel uncomfortable but half an hour a day devoted to sorting and clearing will soon put this room back in order!

Saturday, 19 January 2019


It was band practice this morning. I decided not to play so took the beginners for the first hour, did some filing down in the storeroom and then sat between two children to point and help them keep in time. All in all it was a good morning and I will probably play next week. The photo shows one of the rooms we use for practice, taken at the end of the morning when we've cleared all the equipment away. We practice in the old Magistrate's Court so the carved wooden barrier in front of the stained glass windows is the Magistrate's Bench. It's listed, so is out of bounds to the children ... just in case!

I'm expecting a Tesco delivery with the rest of the food for the next month or so but apart from that, my only plan is to tune into ITV2 as they are showing the last four Harry Potter films over the weekend. 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Good News!

A sneaky photograph taken in the consulting room when the Registrar had disappeared to find some leaflets for me.

It's good news so far. The physical examination hasn't raised any concerns - there's no sign of a lump or any other change that would indicate the presence of cancer. The Registrar set my mind at rest when she said that pain as a symptom of breast cancer is only evident in approximately 1% of cases and she has recommended a tablet I can take for pain relief if I feel I need it; I can't remember what it's called and I've left the leaflet in the car but it's not a prescription medication and can be bought in Holland and Barrett. I'll see how I get on before buying any. The next stage is the mammogram just to be 100% sure, but she is not expecting a negative result and I'll get an appointment within the next two weeks.

I was only in the hospital for two hours instead of the three hours stated on the letter so on the way home I did a bit of food and toiletries shopping and also called in to the furniture store to look at the armchairs. I liked the one that matches my sofas (which I linked to in yesterday's post) so will do a final measure of the available space, just to be sure, and then will go back after band tomorrow and order it. I don't have the energy to go back today so will get some lunch, then settle down for a quiet afternoon to recharge the batteries.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Waking Up!

I'm talking about the garden, not me! I had a bit of a wander round to see what was happening and was delighted to see that the pieris is starting to flower. Each individual flowers is tiny, only about 5mm long, but the plant is covered in buds so it'll be beautiful when they all flower. There's plenty of green growth around following the recent rain so I need to get outside and do some tidying up to give everything the room it needs.

It's not a job for today though. I've woken with a terrible headache and don't have the energy to be outside continuously bending, so will carry on with sorting and organising indoors. Yesterday I worked through two big plastic crates, reducing the contents to half a crate, so my first job will be to find homes for those things and then maybe pick the next box to start on.

I'm supposed to go to a band committee meeting tonight but, if this headache doesn't disappear, I may check to see that there are enough people going to ensure a quorum and if so, may send my apologies. I think I need an early night.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

The Living Room (2)

Here's the other end of the living room. The small chair in the corner is the one that will be in the music room when I've cleared enough space for it and in it's place I'd like to fit another armchair. I did buy one when I bought the sofas but that one has found a home in the dining room, so I have the option of buying the chair that matches the sofa (here) or looking around for something else. I haven't made my mind up yet. The side table is the other one of a pair which will be sold and replaced with something more suitable for the space.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Finally ...

... the dining table is clear! From now on I'll have all my meals sitting at this table - a self-imposed rule to stop eating in front of the TV. I always used to sit at the table to eat but have got into bad habits since the table disappeared under a heap of boxes.

The protection will stay on the table for the time being as that's going to be where I sort out some of the boxes. If you're wondering where all the boxes have gone ... they're in the music room until I get round to sorting them out.

It's not quite as bad as it looks as about a third of the boxes contain things I want to keep and which just have to be put away. 

I spent most of yesterday moving furniture around and have ended up with everything in the correct room, with the exception of the chair that will eventually live in the music room but is in the corner of the living room for now ... there just wasn't enough space to squeeze it in! It took ages as I kept taking rests to summon up the energy to carry on ... but at least I slept well last night. The next stage is to hoover each room again (new carpets, lovely as they are, are dust monsters!) and then start clearing all of these boxes.

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Living Room (1)

The only thing I achieved yesterday was to move the davenport desk back into the living room. It's been in the music room out of harm's way and now needs a good polish, but that's for another day! It doesn't look like it in the photo (I used my phone again!) but the walls are white and there isn't such a yellow tinge to the sofas and carpet.

The side table is one of a pair, both of which will be replaced as soon as I see something more suitable, preferably with a taller nest of tables, as that means the large sofa can be moved closer to the davenport to make space for an armchair at the other end of the room. I'll also be looking out for a set of pictures/photographs for the long wall, and need to find somewhere else to place the WiFi thermostat for the central heating (the white unit on top of the davenport). That's the best corner in the room for it but I don't like it where it is so may have to organise a small shelf behind the photograph so that it's hidden from view. The photo is of my late partner and will always be on display.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

My Reading Corner

Over the next few days I'll be sharing some photos from around the house to show the work that's been done and my current ideas for the finishing touches. 

This is my favourite part of the living room - my snuggle chair/reading corner and I'm happy with how this has turned out. To finish off I need to find a suitable snuggle blanket. I have a new off-white knitted one which hopefully will be okay but I'll have to see whether the colour of the blanket fits in with the room. If it doesn't, then it'll be a shopping trip to find a replacement. I also want to have one or two floating shelves on the wall above the radiator for family photographs and a couple of ornament, and maybe a small side table.

Saturday, 12 January 2019


The good news it that every room that should have, now has new carpet. Even the living room! The bad news is that they forgot to bring the vinyl flooring for the bathrooms so that has to be done next week. The colour in the photo isn't very accurate - it's more of a 'stone' colour and is a good match for the new sofas. Today's task is to assemble the double bed so that I can move back into my own bedroom.

It was the first band session since the Christmas break this morning so it was lovely to see everyone again. As to be expected at this time of year there were quite a few off sick but despite that, the playing standard was good. My beginners aced their 'have we remembered everything' quiz and the results showed that they hadn't forgotten anything, so we're in a good position to carry on. I can feel that it is going to be a good term!

Friday, 11 January 2019

The Music Room

Most of the stuff crammed into this room has been moved from elsewhere in the house to clear rooms in preparation for the carpet fitters. It should be a straightforward task to move it all back to where it belongs over the next week. Once that’s done I plan to move all the boxes from the dining room in here, so that everything that needs to go is all in one place.

I came away from the doctors with a prescription for eye drops (irritation from dust, nothing serious) and a referral for an urgent mammogram which means I’ll be seen within two weeks. The urgency is more to do with family history as my twin sister has had breast cancer twice, rather than a concern that the pain I have is a symptom of the big C, but it is a relief that I won’t have to wait long to know one way or the other.

I’m just waiting now for the fitters to arrive. Fingers crossed that the laminate floor in the living room won’t be an issue.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Front Garden (2)

This is the patch of garden outside the kitchen window. The big shrub is a buddleia, Wisteria Lawn, which suffered badly during that really hot spell last summer. The interior of the shrub is brown and looks dead but a gardener friend has advised that I leave it alone and see what happens in the spring.

On the left of the photo you can just see the edge of the trellis but the climbing plant needs to be replaced this year. The previous one was too vigorous for that position and kept blocking the boiler vent, so I gifted it to my sister and it is now growing quite happily and twining around one of their trees. I haven't decided what to grow in its place yet but know that I want an evergreen flowering climber, preferably white flowers. 

I had to bathe my eyes to get them open properly this morning so I'm hoping that it's down to a reaction to all the dust from lifting the old carpets or maybe a bout of conjunctivitis, rather than a development relating to the existing more serious eye problems. Luckily I have an appointment to see my doctor later this morning about something else so can get some immediate attention, whatever it is.

Apart from that, it's going to be another easy day. The house is ready for the carpet fitters tomorrow so I can just sit back and relax!

The Front Garden (1)

It's all looking a bit drab at the front of the house. Later in the year the hebes will display their pink foliage and the lavender will add some splashes of deep purple and it'll all look a lot brighter.

I didn't make it to the quiz last night. I started vomiting in the afternoon and that was it for the rest of the day. Today, I'm tired but thankfully no long feeling sick.

The plumbers didn't turn up as promised and have now rescheduled for next Monday. It's frustrating, especially when there is so little left to do … I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will turn up, do the work, and sign off on the job. On the plus side the curtain fitter arrived on time, sorted out two more curtain poles and I now have the curtains in the dining room and the music room, leaving just the ones for my bedroom to be delivered. 

My new tablet has arrived but I can't get it to charge so it may have to go back, or at least ask the supplier to provide a replacement charging cable ... yet more frustration I could do without. I think it may be a day for pulling up the drawbridge and having a little pamper time!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Garage (2)

This is the end of the garage I use regularly and which just needs tidying up. Again!

Apart from delivering my nephew's birthday card yesterday, I didn't get much done yesterday. I felt alright when I woke up but as the morning progressed I felt really chilled and couldn't get warm so it evolved into a day of sort of feeling sorry for myself! I'd filled the slow cooker with a hearty lamb stew which bubbled away contentedly through the day and I ate it in front of the TV, watching a re-run of the Harry Potter film series. 

The plumbers will be here later this morning to finish off - I think there's only the kitchen tap to change so I'm not sure why that will require both of them. This afternoon the fitter will return to fit the rest of the curtain poles so that'll be another job to tick off the list. There's still one pair of curtains to be delivered but hanging them will be an easy five minute job - hopefully next week for those.

Tonight it is the girl's night out with Julie, Lauren and Sue and we're going back to the previously visited pub for their quiz night in aid of Wiltshire Air Ambulance. I like the quiz but it doesn't give us much time to sit and chat, so maybe we need to add in another monthly meet, maybe going for a meal, but something where we can sit and catch up on each other's news.

Monday, 7 January 2019

The Garage (1)

Next, the garage. It's packed and impossible to move around in this part but luckily some of it isn't my problem. 

Most of the space is taken up by the tubas which the band are supposed to be selling; we moved them here to create more space where the other instruments are stored and of course it's been a case of out of sight, out of mind. I'll raise it at the next committee meeting and agree a date for getting them photographed and advertised, and who is going to do it ... not me, hopefully! 

The black bags are filled with gravel, some of which will go on the front garden and the rest offered 'free to collector'. The problem as far as I'm concerned is that the bags were filled by my nephew, who doesn't seem to know his own strength, and they are way too heavy to move! There's also some of my late partner's stuff to sell but I'm not sure what everything is, so will need to do some research. 

It's going to be an odds and ends sort of day. I need to go out for some eggs and vegetables, deliver my nephew's birthday card, and take some more rubbish to the skip. Then ... I'm not sure. Definitely nothing in the house as that's on the back burner until the carpets are fitted now so maybe something in the garden providing it warms up a bit!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

A Day of Rest

Yesterday's trips to the skips to dispose of the old carpet was a lot easier than expected. All of the carpet fitted into my car in two loads and each time I parked up, a couple of the employees unloaded my car for me ... I couldn't ask for better service.

By lunchtime yesterday I'd finished removing all of the staples and after lunch found spaces in the upstairs cupboard for the rest of the stuff then hoovered every room. Here's a rather grainy phone photo of my teddy, animal cushions and my lamb doorstop, comfy in a cupboard for the next week or so.

The plan is to leave bedrooms 1 and 3 and both bathrooms completely empty, with the furniture stored in bedroom 2. There's not much furniture to move around upstairs so the new double bed and the playroom tables have been moved into bedroom 2 and all I need to do is move the single bed and mattress  (which I'm currently using) in there on Friday morning. As they carpet each room I'll be able to move the beds back to the correct places. I still have to lift the stair carpet but it's been cut in preparation so will be a straightforward job for Thursday night. 

So, it's all in hand and I'll definitely be ready. I don't know what I was panicking about! I suppose the only thing that could be a problem is the fact that the previous living room carpet was fitted on top of the old laminate flooring. Catriona commented on yesterday's post to say that the fitter they used wouldn't lay the carpet on the laminate so they had to lift it before the job could be completed. If that turns out to be the case I'll have the option to either find another fitter who will lay the carpet on top of the laminate or accept the delay and arrange for the laminate to be lifted and the room boarded out to maintain the floor level.

Today is a lazy day ... reading, bubble bath, crossword puzzles, and maybe a bit of research on the family tree.  

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Plan 'B'

Forget about tidying the garden and clearing the dining table, a phone call late yesterday afternoon has changed my plans. The carpet fitters will now be here much earlier than expected ... next Friday ... which is fantastic news, but means that disposal of the old carpets and clearing the rooms now has to be accomplished in much less time.

My nephew rose to the challenge and came round last night to lift the carpets for me. They've all been cut and tied into manageable rolls which I'll take to the recycling centre later this morning. The photo shows the carpets from two rooms and there's about the same amount upstairs ... it'll probably mean three or four trips but fortunately the recycling centre is only about five minutes away. 

The underlay was stapled in position so my next task will be to remove those, or at least make them safe. I've already done my bedroom and that room is empty, ready for next week. The other two bedrooms will be done this afternoon and then it's just the landing, stairs and living room to do ... until then I'll just have to take extra care where I walk as lots of the staples are sticking up ready to pierce carelessly placed toes! It's interesting to see that the living room carpet was laid on what I think was the original laminate flooring.

My nephew moved some of the stuff from the bedrooms into the dining room, so all that remains to be done upstairs is to find space in any of the cupboards to put things away and leave the floors clear. That'll probably get done tomorrow. 

I have a few medical appointments next week so won't have much free time during the days, but it looks like I'll be ready in plenty of time ... Plan 'B' seems to be working!

Friday, 4 January 2019

The Back Garden (3)

... and finally, the part of the garden behind the garage. This area needs the most work - weather permitting, I'd like to get it cleared before spring but it isn't currently the priority.

I placed the order for the carpets and vinyl flooring yesterday. It pays to be cheeky ... I already had a 50% sale price offer (held over from his previous visit even though the sale had ended) and, once he'd measured up and quoted the price I said it was too expensive so he applied his discretionary additional discount and it brought the total price within my budget. I wonder how many people ask for an additional reduction, but I'm so glad I did! Delivery will be in about two weeks to the fitter who will contact me before then to agree the installation date. This means I have to dispose of the existing carpets within the next two weeks so will be phoning my nephew later this week to ask for some help. 

Clearing the dining table is progressing slowly. I've cleared out three boxes and have another one ready to post to a member of my late partner's family, so have dealt with just under half of the stuff that was piled up there. However, I now have to work out the logistics to clear four rooms for the new carpeting which will inevitably mean that the dining room (which doesn't have to be carpeted) will have to be used for short term storage. It feels like three steps forwards and two steps back, but it will only be for a short time and I should be able to get everything back in its proper place by the end of January. This all needs to be done sooner rather than later to make it easier to remove the existing carpets. I need to get my thinking cap on and work out where to put things!

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Back Garden (2)

Another view of the patio, standing outside the dining room doors and looking across the back of the house. I think I'll tackle the pots as the first garden job as that will show an immediate improvement. Looking at the patio slabs, I think I may need to invest in a power washer but that can wait until the warmer weather is here.
It's all about choosing the new carpets today. I'm using the same company that supplied the curtains and also did the carpets in our previous home; I've been happy with their service every time so am choosing to stay with them for this expenditure as well. Once I know the price and the timescale I can organise the remainder of the decorating and also make a decision on whether to buy the armchair to match the sofas.

The electrics are all finished now with the exception of the speakers in the en-suite. That delay is down to a misunderstanding as I thought they were providing the new speakers and they thought I was! Talking to them today, I'm not going to rush to get this done but will take my time to plan the sound system I want (probably SONOS) and once I've decided, they'll advise which ceiling speakers I'll need to buy.  

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

My Simple Things

A slight change of plan because the electrician has turned up to finish the second fix on all the electrics so I can’t do any cooking until they’ve gone. It’s also another day of  trying to stay out of their way so there’s no sorting going on either. So a second post today as I’m a bit behind ... Bless and Sharon have already posted their Winter Joy lists so I’m playing catch-up.  

Here’s my list of simple pleasures I want to enjoy during the winter months ...

1. Hot chocolate. I think we all have this on our lists but my indulgence is hot chocoate with chilli, served in one of the town centre cafes and my treat after band practice on Saturdays.

2. Fresh flowers. To brighten my home during the winter months when there’s not much colour in the garden.

3. Photography on frosty mornings. I’m secretly hoping for snow as well, not too much, but just enough to get some wintery photos.

4. Fresh bread from the bakery, still warm. This used to be a regular treat after the weekly shopping but I haven’t bothered since I lost Ced. I'm looking forward to this as an occasional treat - fresh warm bread with homemade soup.

5. Playing solitaire. Using proper playing cards rather than playing online. I used to do this daily as a way of relaxing and taking a screen break, and lately I’ve realised how much I’ve missed doing this.

6. Walking on the beach. Sometimes I find myself longing for the simple pleasure of walking along the sands on a blustery day and blowing all those (mental) cobwebs away.

7. Cosy evenings spent with friends. Just relaxing at home with friends, chatting or watching TV/film.

8. Playing the piano. Well, trying to play it! It’s been too long and I’m itching to get started again. 

9. Long soaks in a bubble bath - I’ve missed having the use of a bath ... a shower just isn’t the same!

10. Early morning walks along the canal towpath. The best time for a walk with the early morning light.

The Back Garden (1)

The garden needs a lot of love and attention. It's been rather neglected, mostly due to the problems with my eyes, so the first task is to tidy up where possible before the frosts set in and the ground gets too hard to work.

The pots and furniture were moved by the workmen to create space to work in. The furniture was previously arranged in the bigger space outside the living room but I actually prefer the view from the room now that it's not there, so I have to rethink how things can be positioned on the patio.

I’ll be carrying on with clearing the dining table today, then cooking up a culinary masterpiece with the the odds and ends of vegetables.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

And So It Begins!

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 brings good health and happiness with it for everyone.

It's day one of my 2019 photo project where the theme is 'home and garden'. I'm starting by photographing all of the 'problem' areas in the hope that I can see the improvements as the year progresses.

Day one features the dining room table, currently piled high with boxes. It's a priority to clear this as I want to eat all my meals at this table so I'm breaking my self imposed rule of 'no eating in the living room' until I get this done.

It's not as bad as it looks! This is the result of clearing out the living room in preparation for the work to start and of sorting out some of the cupboards in my playroom. Now that I have the space it is just a case of re-sorting, putting the 'keeps' away, and then disposing of the rest. This should only take about two - three hours effort to get it done ... I just need the motivation to get started!