Tuesday, 30 April 2019


The decorating is continuing. Today he's started on the internal doors and is doing the panels on every door so I'm having to stay out of the way as every room is affected. Still, it's a pretty good excuse to sit and read and do very little else!

The high point of yesterday was that the list for the Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt was announced. The hunt is organised by Mary-Lou and will run between 1st May 2019 and 30th September 2019 and everyone is welcome to join in (especially if they've just bought a new camera and is considering developing their photography skills!!). Here's the list, but please pop over to Mary-Lou's blog to let her know that you are joining in ... the more, the merrier.

2019 Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt 
(May 1st 2019 -September 30th 2019)
1. An Outdoor Clock
2. Single & Pretty
3. Repetition
4. Blurred Vision
5. The Word Summer
6. An Umbrella, open or closed
7. A Curving Path
8. Shells
9. A Bridge
10. Something Made of Stone
11. Fish
12. Something Crooked
13. Two Colours of The Rainbow in Any Combination (colours of the rainbow are: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)
14. A Handwritten Sign
15. A Broken Chair/Bench/Stool
16. An Out of Season Treat Being Enjoyed
17. A Sail
18. Something That Should Be Found In Pairs 
19. A Funny or Meaningful Bumper Sticker
20. A Favourite Seasonal Scent

A:  Bird or Bee House
B:  Fresh Local Produce

Monday, 29 April 2019


The decorator has started work, I've collected my car, and I'm feeling better ... today should be a better day.

I've completed my walk for the day, a combination of a quick trip to the canal, a detour to the shop on the way back and finished off with a few circuits of the garden.

Today's photo gives an indication of the state of the garden! I had plenty of choice ... the dandelions are thriving. There's not much I can do around the house this week so, providing it doesn't rain, this week's tasks will be to clear some of the garden and to read the book for the next book group meeting. 

Sunday, 28 April 2019


Temptation is never very far away!

This is the sight that greeted me this morning. We buy eggs for all the under 18 band members and their siblings; two players couldn't make it so I am babysitting their eggs until next week.

I've not long got out of bed, sleeping from 8pm last night until 2pm this afternoon. I obviously needed the sleep and feel much better than I did yesterday. I'll see how I feel, but another trip to the doctor may be necessary.

Today, all I have to do is empty the upstairs cupboards in preparation for the decorator who is starting tomorrow. That doesn't include the cupboards in my playroom so is not as bad as it sounds ... just clothes from my bedroom and whatever is in the airing cupboard. It'll all have to live on the spare bed for this week. Once that's done it'll be yet another day of doing as little as possible and getting some rest ... it's getting a bit boring now!!

Saturday, 27 April 2019


The mini concert to parents and family is over for another year. The band played well, the Easter eggs and hot cross buns were devoured and everyone has gone home happy. It was a success!

The new band fleeces have arrived. It's not a good photo but I am too tired to try again - it's black with the yellow and brown band logo. I have to alter the sleeves as I wont be able to play if I leave it as it is ... the sleeves are at least five inches too long!

My car is still at the garage and I should get it back on Monday, but I still have their courtesy car so I'm not too bothered. The decorator will be starting on all the gloss work and the hall, stairs and landing on Monday so tomorrow's job will be to empty the bedroom cupboards and make ready for him. 

It's been a hectic morning and I'm shattered so the rest of the day will be spent relaxing. I may even go back to bed for a while. 

Friday, 26 April 2019


First, an update on my car. It's good news ... it's a faulty sensor on the exhaust system which monitors the emissions. That has to be replaced and then the entire system has to be upgraded. It all sounds very expensive but thankfully is covered by the warranty so I don't have to pay a penny! It should be ready later today and I can keep the courtesy car until I collect mine.

I'm expecting a couple of visitors to view and hopefully buy a couple of the items I've advertised. S will be here at lunchtime to do the cleaning, and this afternoon I'm hoping to get some practice in ... it's the annual band mini concert to parents tomorrow and I haven't played my tenor horn since we finished for the holiday. I have been playing the flugelhorn which is the problem so I need to have a quick play to settle back to the more relaxed embouchure of the horn.

This is the current decluttering project. It's not all mine (she says defensively!) as some of it belongs to band and some is for the lending library I want to create at band. I play 12 instruments so have music for every one but now I've made the decision to sell some of the instruments, a lot of this can be sold or donated. 

Apart from that, which I doubt I will finish today, my only other 'must do' task is to iron my uniform for tomorrow. As well as the concert we have arranged for a photographer to take a formal photo of the band, so I want to look my best!!

Hawthorn's April Scavenger Hunt

Today's the day we post our collection of photos for Hawthorn's monthly scavenger hunt. 

Edge ... the edge of the land where it meet the sea, this a photo from my archives taken at Trevose Head in Cornwall, just as a sea mist was rolling in.

Loaf ... very tempting to eat but I'm following the Slimming World eating plan, so this loaf was eaten by friends to save me from myself! 

Bridge ... at Farleigh Hungerford, just over the border in Somerset. If you follow the road over the bridge and drive up the hill you arrive at Farleigh Hungerford Castle, one of the many ruins in this area and once the home of one of the Magna Carta barons.

Mine ... this is Minehole Lake, once the site of iron ore open cast mining and now used for recreation by fishermen and a local sailing club.

Black ... a silhouette of the view from my back garden ... enjoying the sunset!

Own Choice ... another photo from the archives taken on the same holiday as the lighthouse photo. I found this when I was looking for the lighthouse photo and it's a timely reminder to me that I need to get out and about and start taking the sort of photos I plan but never get round to taking ... no more excuses!

Many thanks to Kate for organising the hunt every month.

Thursday, 25 April 2019


An early start this morning as I had to get my car to the garage before 8am. They are 'hoping' to look at it today and let me know what is causing the warning and service light to come on, but I have their courtesy car so I'll be able to get to all the places I need to be without the expense of trains, buses and taxis.

I need to do a bit of shopping this morning and then G will be here to cut my hair and make me look presentable again! Apart from that, I'll be at home carrying on with the decluttering. It was the blue bin collection (cardboard and plastics) collection this morning so I can now refill the bin with the rest of the shredding, which frees up so more space indoors - I did ask but they wouldn't take the remaining bags of shredding as it wasn't in the bin!!

Yesterday's Girl's Night In was good fun. In the end we collected the takeaway from the newly opened restaurant over at the Marina (about 5 minutes walk from home) - roast dinners! For the second time running we didn't bother to watch the film, choosing to chat instead, and ended up having a good laugh together. 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019


It's been one of those days which started badly but has improved as the hours have passed. 

On the way home from the book group last night the engine warning light flashed on the dashboard so I'm currently without a car. I phone the garage this morning and have stressed that I've driven less than 15 miles since the annual service and that I expect a speedy resolution. From being told that they couldn't fit me in for two weeks I wore them down and am now taking the car in tomorrow morning and will also have a courtesy car to tide me over. 

This meant that I only had to manage for today without a car ... the one day I needed to get to Bath as I had a ticket for an afternoon performance of Fiddler on the Roof at the Theatre Royal. So, my first train ride in a while!

The show was an production by the Bath Operatic and Dramatic Society but it was excellent. I saw their previous production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert so I knew the standard would be good and I wasn't disappointed.

Tonight it's our monthly Girls' Night In, so I'm waiting for them to turn up, order the takeaway and then settle down to watch the film.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019


I've completely underestimated how long it is going to take to print out the new music for the band. It's not a major problem in that the children have plenty of music in their folders so progress will still be made but I want the job over and done with. I purchased 21 bundles of music which were delivered via download and now need to be printed; each bundle contains about 6 pieces of music and each piece has to have the 17 different instrument parts and the conductor's score printed out. This all then needs to be photocopied so that we end up with the requisite number of copies for each section of the band (I use a local business for this part!) and then collated into packs ready to be issued to the players.

I need to buy some more ink and printer paper and then get on with it. It's going to keep me busy for a few days but the beauty of this system is that we can legally photocopy the music so always have enough copies for every child.

Tonight is the book group meeting, to discuss 'The Storyteller' by Jodi Picoult. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone as it's been a while since the last meeting and this will be my first opportunity to sound out the interest, if any, in starting up the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book Group. 

Apart from that, I don't have much else planned for today. The printing is the priority and I'll either read or do a puzzle book in between pressing the print button ... otherwise it gets a bit boring!

Monday, 22 April 2019


I've been out in the garden to take today's photo and sat for a while in the sunshine. I don't think I'll get my to-do list finished today as I'm tired and not really feeling like doing much. I'll just pick the easy printing for band from the list and get that done - I think I can cope with pressing the print button every now and then!

Sunday, 21 April 2019


The shredding is nearly finished thanks to a tremendous effort by E and her daughter. Finishing off the remainder is my focus today and should take about an hour and then I'll tidy the tables in my playroom ...

The pile of books belong in the music rooms and the rest of it filing. This has been the dumping ground for 'keeps' as I've been decluttering/organising but it's time to tidy up ... I don't like working in this sort of mess and my next stage of organising requires the use of the laptop, so I need to clear the tables.

Once the shredding is finished and the tables tidied, the day will be my own to do whatever I fancy. I didn't get out for a walk yesterday so that will be a high priority for today and then, maybe an afternoon sitting in the garden reading and relaxing. 

Saturday, 20 April 2019


I had to go shopping for food so I can feed E and Co when they arrive to complete the shredding for me, so I took the opportunity to return the items in the photo to the band storage. The contents of the yellow box is the result of this morning's decluttering/organising and belongs to the band so, for the time being, it's in the store room and I'll bring it back home when I have the time to complete the work. The flugelhorn in the blue case is in the way and I'm fed up of having to move it every time I want to do something in the music room so I've taken it back and will borrow it again when I've finished all the decluttering and reorganising.

I'd intended to walk around the town park as my exercise for the day but in the end decided against it. Somehow I managed to forget that it's Easter so the travelling fairground has set up on the open space at the bottom of the park and at the opposite end there is a Teddy Bear Hunt in progress with lots of excited littlies running around. Any walking will now have to wait until this evening, partly because the sun is too hot and also I'm expecting E any minute now. 

Friday, 19 April 2019


Friends will be arriving this evening, each clutching a quick to play board or card game that they think/hope will be new to the others, so before they get here I'm reminding myself of the rules of Quizzle as I haven't played it in ages. They should also be clutching a bowl of food as we are doing a bring and share meal; this time I'm providing jacket potatoes, tea and coffee, plus fruit if anyone wants it. 

In the meantime, I'm on a bit of a roll with the current bit of decluttering so I don't plan to stop because it is Good Friday. I've been sorting through the rest of the music books and have reduced them by two thirds - I'm keeping only the piano books, some brass books for my own level of playing and a few easier ones for the children I'm currently teaching so I have a variety of pieces for when they need additional practice before moving to the next level. All of the flute books are going to Little Miss C but will stay here for now as she isn't starting flute lessons for a while. The rest will either be donated to the charity shop or given to the band as I'd like to create a 'lending library' to encourage practice. I have now created space in the music room cupboards, which means that once I've reorganised everything there be enough room to move some of my camera kit downstairs (which is where I've always wanted it to be).

Thursday, 18 April 2019


I'm feeling much better today but still don't have the energy for anything too energetic, so have settled on catching up with the shredding. I found another load of admin records from when I was teaching full time which I have no need to keep but which will contain information about individual children so, instead of painstakingly sorting through them, I am shredding the lot! It'll probably take quite a few sessions to complete, as the shredder keeps overheating, but it will clear another large space in one of the cupboards so it'll be good to get it done.

My joyful activity for today will be a visit from a friend. She knows I'm unwell and is bringing round some lunch for us to share. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2019


I'm feeling much better than I did yesterday now the the medication has kicked in. I'm supposed to do a 30 - 60 minute walk today, but at the time of writing this I can't see that it is going to happen. I wandered round the garden this morning, mainly to get some fresh air, and I only managed about 10 minutes before my legs felt like jelly and I had to go back inside.

I've finished reading 'The Storyteller' by Jodi Picoult which is the nominated read for the book group for April. I loved her writing style and will look for some more of her work in the future but it feels wrong to say I liked or loved the book as it dealt with the difficult subject of the Holocaust. I think it will be an interesting discussion this time. 

I've decided to start up a second book group. In the current one we read whatever is suggested with no restriction to stick to a theme, but the new one will be limited to Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels only. This genre is a fairly new experience for me but so far I have enjoyed every book I've read, so it'll be fun to meet others who share the same interest. If any of you can recommend any good sci-fi or fantasy books I'd really appreciate it. 

My joyful activity for today will be to continue with developing my five year plan, looking for ideas for short breaks in the UK. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2019


Late last night I had a flying visit from H, a friend who is very 'in' to kitchen gadgets, gets bored with them and then passes them on to friends. So far I've refused anything on the ground that the gadget is too big for my kitchen. As to be expected, she didn't arrive empty handed and I am now the proud owner of this egg cooker!

It's small enough to fit into one of the narrow top cupboards so I didn't have an excuse to refuse on the grounds of size, but I have never felt the need to own an egg cooker. I really do sound like an ungrateful brat don't I? Anyway, we tried it out, cooking up some hard boiled eggs and it was quick and easy but then, so is doing them in a pan on the hob. The thing that made me agree to keep it was the steam vent on the top ... I fail miserably at capturing steam in a photograph but I think with this gadget I may be successful. Possibly not the right reason for owning an egg cooker but ... !

I had quite a disturbed night due to my cold and woke this morning to discover I have absolutely no voice and that it's very painful to breathe, so an early trip to see the duty doctor and one prescription later, I'm home and back in the warm. It's raining out and fairly chilly so I'm not too upset about being confined indoors again. I don't really have any plans for the rest of the day and will just see how I feel. I'm supposed to do 20 minutes walking today so if I can do that, it'll be done by walking around the house rather than going out.

Monday, 15 April 2019


This is where I walked this morning. It's not a scheduled day according to my walking plan but I needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air. I took a couple of photos for the monthly scavenger hunt and then decided, on the spur of the moment, to try my luck at geocaching ... and this is where I ended up! I found the cache eventually (I definitely need to brush up on my skills with a compass!) but couldn't update the log as I didn't have a pen with me. Next time I will be more organised!

On the way back home I called into the first supermarket I came to and bought some fresh fruit and vegetables. I obviously arrived at the right moment as I also bought some chicken thighs, cooked chicken and stock pots, all reduced on yellow stickers. I'll be using it all tomorrow so I'm not worried about the best before or use by dates. 

I'm feeling much more cheerful than I did yesterday. It's definitely a cold but the fresh air did some good this morning and revived my spirits, and I've got myself past the feeling sorry for myself stage. I started planning for the next couple of years last night but I haven't quite settled on anything near the final version; all will be revealed later in the week!

Sunday, 14 April 2019


I can't decide on what to do today. I've completed my walking (15 minutes), have tidied round, and now .... don't know. I can't seem to settle to anything and I don't know if I'd be better going out or staying in. I think visiting anyone is out of the question as the cold I've been keeping at bay for the past few days has fought back and I have the sniffles so I don't want to pass it on. 

at last, the hydrangea is proving it is still alive with plenty of new leaves!

It's not that warm out so although the garden needs my attention, it's not getting it today! As I'm writing this I can see that I'm in a 'feeling sorry for myself' mood so I need to snap out of it ... first a soak in the bath, then find a film to watch ... that sounds like a plan!

Saturday, 13 April 2019


There's no band practice this morning as the schools are on holiday, so I can have a pleasant day at home, reading and listening to some music.

We had a brilliant time at the folk club last night and thankfully, both of my friends enjoyed the singer. I've seen him too many times to count and love his voice and his music, so it was always going to be a winner for me.

This is a photo of the Village Pump Folk Club and is a place I first started going to in the 1970s, every Monday night for years. The majority of the crowd who first started the club are sadly no longer with us but their legacy lives on in the form of this club and the Village Pump Folk Festival, both of which stopped for a while and have been resurrected. The folk club is now held on a Friday night and my friends are interested in going again, so that's something else for the diary and something to look forward to!

I treated myself to two CDs last night. I first saw Johnny Coppin performing live at the Village Pump in the early 1970s although I knew of his music through his earlier involvement in the group Decameron ... I just never got to see them perform live. At one time I had all of his albums, all on vinyl, which I stupidly got rid of when CDs became the 'new thing'. His latest album is a collection of 30 songs from his career and includes a lot of my favourites so obviously I had to buy it, and the other one is the music from his Christmas show, 'All On a Winter's Night' which I saw a couple of years ago but couldn't afford the CD at that time.

So today's joyful activity is listening to these two CDs ... it's going to be a perfect day!

Friday, 12 April 2019


I'm sitting in the living room with a steaming mug of coffee, my reward for completing day one of the walking plan. I'm also sort of laughing at myself because I only had to walk for 15 minutes and the pat on the back I'm giving myself is more akin to having completed a marathon ... not that I've ever run a marathon, you understand!

I'm at home for most of today. S will be here later to whizz through the house and make it sparkle again, and I'm expecting someone in response to one of the adverts I placed, though I have the feeling he may be a time waster. It's a lovely day so, depending on the time when both have gone, I may go out to take some photos. In the meantime, I've started a load of laundry, and will carry on sorting out items for the charity shop. 

Tonight, I'm meeting up with A and L to go to the local folk club, my joyful activity for the day. I used to go to this every week without fail but ... life happens, and I stopped going. Tonight, the main act is a folk artist I've followed for years and have persuaded my friends to go with me. It'll be a good evening.

Thursday, 11 April 2019


Baby steps forward! Through a combination of information received via an email and my own 'let's find out what's happening locally' efforts, I have an idea on how I can get myself motivated to walk regularly.

The email was from the 'NHS One You' site and was advocating trying the 'Couch to 5K' app. Well, I have currently have too many painful days because of joint problems, so the idea of running for fun didn't appeal but it did get me thinking. A couple of other bloggers have recently tried Couch to 5K and have both completed it, and more importantly have both enjoyed it and plan to keep on running. It seems to work, but running! .... So, I searched for a Couch to 5K Walking Plan and found the information on the printout in today's photo.

It follows the same approach with rest days in between the walking but there isn't any support from an app which I think was encouraging to my blogger friends.  Anyway, I'll give it a try. I've had to tweak how it'll fit in to my life as I want Saturday's to be a rest day - I know before I start that I won't be keen on any walking after three and a half hours of band practice!

To go alongside this walking schedule I'm trying to come up with having reasons to go out walking in the hope that this will encourage me. One of these reasons is to have another go at Geocaching; I did this a few years ago with great nieces and nephews and enjoyed it, but this time I'm going solo (at least to start with). I've downloaded the free app and have located plenty of local caches to try to find, and I'll just see how it goes!

Luckily today is a rest day as I'm not feeling too well so can continue to take it easy at home. I'll spend a bit of time in the garden to prune a couple of the shrubs and check whether any of the climbing plants need to be tied in, and then ... I don't know but it'll probably involve reading, letter writing and/or watching TV!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019


a solitary flower found growing alongside the canal
At least it's not raining today so I've been out for a short walk along the canal, but there's quite a chilly breeze and I'm glad to be back in the warm.

Today will be all about getting on with the remainder of the decluttering and doing some more bulk cooking for the freezer. Once I've finished this post I need to place adverts for the rest of the items I've photographed, and then back downstairs to cook up some shepherd pies, a cheese and lentil bake, and a vegetable curry. The cheese and lentil bake is a new-to-me recipe which, according to the author is SW syn free, freezes well and is a good substitute for bread when having soup - the cheese element is the worry (for me!) but it'll be worth a try and I may be able to tweak it for the future if it makes me ill.

Later this afternoon I'm hoping to meet a friend for a coffee and catch-up, and this evening will be phoning round to friends and family to get some more dates in the diary. I'm trying to come up with a list of free local activities that involve leaving the house and if some of them also involve some form of exercise, so much the better. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019


the new growth on the pieris

It's just started raining so, apart from a quick trip out to buy and post a birthday card, I'll be occupying my time at home. Today's joyful activity was going to be a photo walk around Stourhead but conditions, even without the rain, are not ideal for landscape photography so I'll have to find something to do at home instead.

I'm feeling much better after yesterday's relaxing day. In the end I summoned up the energy to do a bit of cooking for the freezer, so I now have seven servings of bottom of the fridge soup, and five of savoury (lamb) mince, using up all the vegetables that were starting to look a bit sorry for themselves and topped up with frozen veg. There's no rush to cook up anything else but I'd like to try a couple of recipes using my new ActiFry, so that's a possibility for today.

I weighed myself again and have lost another 1lb which I'm pleased with as since my last weigh-in I've had two Indian meals which were definitely not SW friendly! One was the takeaway on the film night which was planned, and the other was the unplanned lunchtime meal on the day I had my car serviced. I'm still doing my own version of the SW plan but am struggling to be organised with the shopping side of things so too many meals are not as 'on plan' as they should be. I need to set aside some time to decide what changes are needed to make it work and it shouldn't take too much effort to change things round.

Monday, 8 April 2019


Some happy post has been delivered! It's paint pens for a joyful activity on another day, but not today. I feel completely stressed after the nightmare of yesterday and will have a very calm day just sleeping, reading and doing whatever feels right. 

Yesterday turned out to be horrendous. My friend K has a bit of a reputation for outstaying her welcome but she has never done it to me ... until yesterday. I can't go into details but will say that eventually I had to phone her family for help who, when they arrived to collect her, filled in some of the blanks which explained her erratic behaviour. 

I didn't get any of the cooking done yesterday so that will have to be a job for tomorrow, or maybe later today if I start to feel better. I didn't get much sleep last night and I have woken with all the warning signs of a severe migraine; I've taken the prescribed medication and may go back to bed as soon as I finish this post. 

I've read a few blogs this morning and was delighted by the news that Mary-Lou may start the summer photo scavenger hunt in May, earlier than in previous years. Fingers crossed that she does!

Sunday, 7 April 2019


I forgot to mention yesterday’s joyful activity which was playing the flugelhorn. This is the instrument I learned on and I’ve borrowed it from the band for a bit of fun, and I may even play it with the band from time to time. It'll be more of the same for today's joyful activity!

If I can summon up the energy I will do some bulk cooking this morning. I'm having a roast chicken dinner, so that's the oven tied up. I have the ingredients to cook a pea and ham soup which I'll do on the hob and then use the slow cooker for a lentil and vegetable soup. The ActiFry will see service cooking either a chilli or a curry ... I still have to decide. K stayed overnight so all of this depends on what time she gets up as I've offered to drive her home.

I'm not sure what the weather is doing today. It's looking like a grey overcast day at the moment, but at least it's not raining. It's not ideal conditions for the photographs I have in mind so I may leave the camera at home and just go for a walk this afternoon. Then providing it stays dry, I'll aim for an hour or so in the garden to do some tidying up. 

Saturday, 6 April 2019


new growth on the euonymus
The school holiday has started so there wasn't a band practice this morning but four of us went in to start the maintenance of the instrument stock. We had no idea how long it would take but I'm pleased with the progress made today as all of the cornet stock has been oiled and greased and is now ready for issue in September, or before if required. The next session will be to photograph and advertise the tubas and trombones currently stored in my garage, and then it'll take another 4 or 5 sessions to check the remainder of the instruments although I doubt that'll be done before the next intake in September. We then need to put a rolling schedule in place so we keep on top of the maintenance ... it'll save money in the long term.

We were working on this for just over two hours this morning, after which I did a bit of shopping and then had lunch ... spicy chicken pasta. This afternoon I'm updating the records for the instruments that have been checked and then I'll be relaxing, just reading and maybe watching TV if there is anything decent on. K said she might call round tonight and if she does, we'll probably have a takeaway, switch the TV off and put the world to rights (although the Brexit topic is banned because she gets too angry about it!!).

Friday, 5 April 2019


My new toy arrived quite late yesterday, too late to use it to cook the evening meal so that is today's plan. It was a bit of a spur of the moment decision to buy this ... I had been thinking about getting one and was going to leave it until later in the year but I saw this on one of the TV shopping channels and thought it was too good a bargain to miss as it included the knives and chopping board (which I needed) and the spice rubs for meats (which I didn't need, but will use), all for them for less than half the price I'd be paying if I bought it later on. 

I haven't decided exactly what to cook today but it will be either chicken or pork as that's what I have in the freezer. It'll also be SW friendly and I should find a suitable recipe on one of the slimming blogs I follow. I also have to do a bit of moving round in the kitchen to make room for it.

I've woken with that raw feeling in my throat that hints at the start of a cold, so it's a pampering-stop-it-developing sort of day today. It's raining and cold so it's definitely a day at home in the warm and I'll get my daily exercise by proxy as my joyful activity is to accompany my friend on her Japanese pilgrimage ... I'll be snuggled up on the sofa reading about her adventures but walking beside her in spirit!

Thursday, 4 April 2019


This was going to be today's joyful activity, sorting out the rest of the pots ...

... but it's raining so instead I will be watching this ...

We were supposed to watch this on Tuesday night for our film evening but we chatted instead. I'm the only one who has never seen it so J left the DVD for me and we'll choose another film for next time.

Thankfully my car got through the service with no additional costs over and above the extra £100 they sprang on me. I ended up walking to the nearest pub for some lunch; ten minutes walk each way so that was my exercise for the day, although the curry I'd eaten for lunch may have negated any weight loss benefits from the walking! I used to go there regularly with Ced (for an evening meal), but I haven't been for years so was delighted to see that their lunch menu has a good selection and is very cheap, so I will suggest to friends that we add it to our list of places to eat. Back at the garage I indulged in plenty of free coffees and biscuits (cookies) and eventually got home at about 2pm, so three hours for a service which should have taken half that time.

It's a shame it's raining because I'd like to have driven over to Lacock - they're filming for the third Fantastic Beasts film and the local paper reported that Johnny Depp was seen walking around the Abbey and the village yesterday. 

I've fallen behind with commenting so will do my best to catch up before the weekend.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019


I’m currently sat in the waiting room at the garage - it’s car service day. I’ve booked a ‘while you wait’ service and have been here about ten minutes so far. In that short time I’ve already had cross words ... twice! The service is going to cost £100 more than their quote and it will take at least an hour longer than I was told when I booked the appointment. 

This is also supposed to be my joyful activity for today, spending the waiting time enjoying numerous coffees and reading. So I’ll get myself a coffee, cheer myself up, and start reading ‘The Storyteller’ by Jodi Picoult. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019


True to the forecast, it's raining! On the plus side, the plants are loving it ... on the minus side, it's wet and chilly and I need to change my plans as I don't fancy going out.

So it's going to be an indoors sort of day today. My joyful activities (more than one today!) are to continue with the photo sorting/editing, playing the piano, and an evening with friends for our monthly film night.

Before any of that can happen I need to do at least an hour of sorting and today this bag of cables and power leads will be thoroughly investigated ...

I've been collecting up the loose cables as I've found them so today's task is to match them to them to their correct items, if possible. I'm not throwing any of them away until I have completed the decluttering but I know that at least a third belonged to computers that were disposed of years ago. This is what happens with a partner who liked to keep things 'just in case'!

The teaching was a joy yesterday. I can hear significant progress in all of their playing and they are all demonstrating a better understanding of the technique/theory elements we have been concentrating on. There's no more lessons now until after Easter, when I will gain two additional learners making a total of five. It should have been six, but one child has missed most of the lessons so we've agreed to stop for now - a sensible decision as the child has absolutely no interest in learning!

I had a long phone call with Julie last night and we'll be meeting for a meal after Easter, together with the other two quizzers. We won £50 worth of vouchers so will use those to put towards a meal for the four of us. I don't know if the monthly quizzing is going to continue; my own feeling is that now we don't meet up so often, maybe it would be better to meet for a meal where we have the opportunity to talk and stay in touch with what's happening in everyone's life. 

Lifestyle Goals: Monthly Review

It's been a relatively good month with some progress.

Health and Fitness. I've sort of started the Slimming World plan but am not yet following the plan 100%. Even so, I've lost 5lbs so far, probably all loss of fluid, but the scales are heading in the right direction so I'm counting it as a successful start.

I've bought a cookbook which will help enormously and I think that for the time being I will carry on as I am. If I continue to lose weight steadily then the changes I've made are fine but if not, I have the option of following SW 100%. 

I have been more active with a few very short and easy walks, and through moving and sorting stuff in the home and garage. However it's not enough so now the better weather is here I'll be out for a walk every day, starting with a 10 minute walk and gradually building up over the weeks until I'm doing 30 minutes every day. I did it before so there's no reason why I can't do it again. 

The best and biggest change has been to make a conscious effort to decide on a joyful activity for the next day so that I wake every morning looking forward to carrying out whatever I have chosen to do. The idea came from Bless who mentioned that her daughter had suggested the idea of a daily joyful activity and I am so grateful to both of them as this has made such a positive impact on my mental health ... it can only get better from here on. 

Time Management. Somehow, although I'm not quite sure how(!), things are getting done on time and I haven't been leaving everything to the last minute. My daily routine is evolving naturally, rather than being planned, and everything seems to be slotting in nicely. On most weekdays the walking, sorting, chores, and decluttering happens in the morning and the rest of the day is mine to do as I choose. Weekends are left completely free apart from band sessions on a Saturday morning. I've changed that around on some days to go out on morning photography walks but have picked up where I left off the next day. Maybe this change to stay on top of things is to do with the fact that it's all so much easier now that most of the decluttering is finished.

Decluttering/Organising. I'm still waiting for the local company to respond about the audio equipment so I need to contact them to see what is happening, but I have sold quite a few smaller items and have cleared other things to the charity shop and to the skip. This month I want to concentrate on getting rid of the remainder of the things that take up a lot of room, i.e. a couple of pieces of furniture, books, and instruments. The doll's house also has to go but I need to do some research on the best way/place to advertise it so that may not happen this month.

My five tasks for March were:
  1. Sort out 31 items to send to the charity shop DONE
  2. Photograph 31 items, ready for sale DONE
  3. Find all things I want to keep and find places for them around the house STARTED
  4. Package up the remaining things to return to my late partner's family and post the package I HAVEN'T FOUND EVERYTHING YET BUT THE BITS I HAVE FOUND ARE BOXED READY
  5. Organise the sale of the old audio equipment STARTED

My five tasks for April are:
  1. Take rubbish to the skip
  2. Place adverts for at least 25 items (to include the furniture)
  3. Finish organising the cupboards in the playroom
  4. Update my 'When I'm Gone' folder
  5. Find the remaining items, package up the things to return to my late partner's family, and post the package

Monday, 1 April 2019


My chosen joyful activity for today is viewing and editing my photos but if I'm completely honest, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is teaching this afternoon!

I have lots of photos that I've taken and not really bothered to look at, and in there somewhere are some images that may be just right for the photo wall I want to create in the living room. My plan is to get my chosen photos printed on canvas and arranged in a grid of nine images. I don't think I have enough decent photos yet but this little exercise (which will take most of this week - I have hundreds of photos 😊) will reveal how many more I need to take.

My decluttering/sorting task for this week is to make decisions about the unwanted books and start disposing of them. I still have lots of music tutor books that I'll no longer use so some of them can go to the children who are having lessons with me, some can be sold and the rest will go to the charity shop. I still have some of my late partner's books which will sell quickly once I get my act together and place the adverts. 

WPSH - Link Up

Here's the link up for your final selection of photos for the Winter Photographic Scavenger Hunt ... please make sure you link to the actual post, not just to your blog. Thank you to everyone who's joined in and I look forward to doing the same again next time, after the summer hunt of course!

WPSH - The Final Selection

The hunt is over and it's time to show the final selection ...
1. At the end of the day when it's dark and the lights are on

2. Pool of light in the sky just about to disappear behind the clouds

3. Fastener a zip fastener on one of my camera bags

4. Nail on the top of the fence I share with my neighbour

5. A group activity packing away after band practice. The children help but obviously couldn't be in this photo!

6. Water dispenser, a pump on a pond creating lots of bubbles 

7. Horse or in this case, horses ... the gallopers on a carousel 

8. Chocolate ... it was delicious!

9. Peel/peeling paint peeling off a rusty metal door 

10. Holly photographed in the garden of the Manor House at Steeple Ashton

11. Dressed for the season ... fingerless mitts are a necessity when busking in the cold weather

12. Glitter a slightly out of focus gift bow left over from Christmas

13. An instruction for assembling the bedroom cabinets

14. A crossing place the bridge over the canal at Rowde

15. Flight ... the flight of locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal at Caen Hill 

16. A measurement to indicate the water level on a stretch of road that floods every winter

17. Orange ... shiny orange satsumas

18. A natural feature the brook where we used to play as children

19. A carved object the figurehead on HMS Warrior

20. A method of communication ... naval signal flags

Alt A. A keyring ... Harry Potter, of course!


Alt B. Show and tell - something you made ... the multicoloured dreamcoat for a school production 

Many thanks to everyone who joined in. I'll post a linky later and will be round to see everyone's final selection. Now to start thinking about the list for next winter ...