Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Lifestyle Goals: Monthly Review for July 2019

At the start of May I decided to change the way I want to monitor my short and medium term goals, choosing to adopt Bless' approach in my search for a balanced life; this is Bless' explanation:

 .... my monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My current ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses.  

This month I have rewritten my goals to conform with the requirements of goal mapping so have worded my goals as if I have already achieved them.  I have also added two new goals this month.

So after all that here is my update for July, stating my goals and the bullet-pointed task list that I'll tackle in August to help achieve the goal. Last month's ratings and tasks are shown in black and the start of the current month is shown in yellow.

HOME (8.5)(8.5)

Goal: The home is always clean and tidy.

I still have the final bits of decluttering to deal with and then I will have achieved the current goal. With the help of a cleaner and minimum effort from me the 'clean' requirement has already been met but the pile of things still to leave the house means the 'tidy' element is still somewhat lacking!

Tasks for July:
  • place advert to sell the doll's house and accessories - ACHIEVED, advert has been placed but waiting for a buyer
  • sort through remaining boxes and donate/dispose/sell contents as appropriate - STARTED
  • take books to charity shop and bags to skip - ACHIEVED
  • daily tasks = washing up and tidying living room before going up to bed - ACHIEVED
Tasks for August:
  • hang pictures in upstairs rooms 
  • buy large throws for living room
  • daily tasks = washing up and tidying living room before going up to bed

GARDEN (7.5)(9.5)

Goal: The garden is always tidy and presentable

The garden is nearly finished for now, as much as a garden is ever finished! I just need to finish clearing the centre bed and then I have almost achieved my current goal. It's easy to maintain and I can easily keep on top of what needs to be done to keep it looking tidy and presentable. I have no plans to change this goal at the moment but at some stage there will be a lot more planting.

Tasks for July:
  • finish laying the membrane and gravel in the back garden if not completed on 30/06/2019 - ACHIEVED, thanks to help from my nephew.
  • stay on top of weeding/dead heading as necessary - ACHIEVED
  • water garden regularly during sunny spells - ACHIEVED
Tasks for August:
  • stay on top of weeding/dead heading as necessary
  • water garden regularly during sunny spells
  • finish clearing the centre bed

FINANCE (10)(10)

Goal: I am financially secure and remain completely debt free

Tasks for July:
  • continue to monitor spending and reduce expenditure where possible - ACHIEVED
Tasks for August:
  • continue to monitor spending and reduce expenditure where possible
  • set up a regular saving account for holiday and travel


Goal: I take an active role in my local community, and have strong bonds with family and friends

As I live alone, it is very important to maintain social 'out of the house' interaction with others and I'm constantly looking for new ways to achieve this, particularly for day time activities.

Tasks for July:
  • continue voluntary work with the youth band - ACHIEVED, ongoing
  • arrange to meet up with Julie and Lauren during the month - ACHIEVED, collected Lauren from her work and spent an hour with her, and met Julie for an evening out
  • try to meet at least one adult band member socially - ACHIEVED, met S for coffee, and C for a chat
Tasks for August:
  • continue voluntary work with the youth band
  • try to meet at least one adult band member socially  


Goal: I have a positive outlook on life and am benefiting by avoiding bouts of depression and keeping my emotional well being at a healthy level

I am a 'glass half full' type of person for the most part but it never hurts to remind myself of all the good things I have in my life.

Tasks for July:
  • write a Reasons to be Cheerful post for my blog - ACHIEVED for June and July
  • actively correct any negative thoughts - 90% SUCCESSFUL
Tasks for August:
  • write a Reasons to be Cheerful post for my blog
  • actively correct any negative thoughts
  • complete a daily joyful activity


Goal: I lead an active life, benefiting from increased fitness and improvements in my general health

This is the one area of my life currently giving me cause for concern and I'm in a sort of holding pattern until I see the heart specialist in September. 

Tasks for July:
  • keep all medical appointments in July - ACHIEVED
  • try to be more active, i.e. activities that are extra to my usual routine - 40% SUCCESSFUL
  • 8 hours sleep every night - 90% SUCCESSFUL
Tasks for August:
  • keep all medical appointments in August
  • go for a short walk at least three times a week


Goal: I eat sensibly and healthily and am benefiting by losing weight and experiencing increased energy levels

I'm currently following the Slimming World eating plan but the introduction of a new medication means that my weight loss has, for the time being, plateaued so I will also doing a bit of calorie counting as well.

Tasks for July:
  • meal planning, concentrating on SW friendly dinners - ACHIEVED BUT WILL BE ONGOING, 
  • drinking 4 glasses of water a day - ACHIEVED
  • restrict the number of takeaways and meals out - COMPLETE FAIL ... let's move quickly past this one!
Tasks for August:
  • meal prep - trying a new to me way of planning and preparing for meals
  • drinking 4 glasses of water a day
  • restrict the number of takeaways and meals out


Goal: I live life now, in the moment, and avoid putting things off. I decide what I want to achieve and I do it!

I need to focus more on this goal. I have lists and lists of ideas but actually follow through and do a very small percentage of things I know I'd enjoy.

Tasks for July:
  • aim to do 3 new to me things during the month - ARRANGED THREE THINGS BUT ONLY COMPLETED ONE- the other two planned activities were cancelled by the organisers 
  • daily piano practice - 75% SUCCESSFUL
  • arrange two diary dates for every week in July to meet with friends -ACHIEVED
Tasks for August:
  • 3 day trips during the month
  • regular music practice
  • arrange two diary dates for every week in August to meet with friends


Goal: I make best use of my time to lead a full and productive life

I am the world's best procrastinator and life will be so much less stressful when I can turn this around. I have a daily routine of sorts but it needs tweaking!

Tasks for August:
  • establish a week day routine, getting chores done in the morning to leave the rest of the day free
  • keep all admin up to date


Goal: I educate myself about the environmental crisis and make changes to my lifestyle to reduce my own carbon footprint.

I am on top of recycling but there is a lot more I can do to improve my own use of products and packaging.

Tasks for August:
  • check every room in the house for packaged products
  • identify options for buying alternative environmental friendly products
  • reduce the amount of meat in my diet and opt for three meat free days a week


I feel that I'm 'getting there'! I have that feeling that a life change is happening (in a good way), probably because the long term worries with house and garden are nearing an end and am already looking forward to a more stress free existence. 

I'll finish with today's photo ... the new red growth on the pieris.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019


Yesterday turned out to be hot and muggy so I was glad to spent most of the day indoors. It didn't quite go according to plan because I found some vouchers due to expire on the last day of July so I had to fit in a trip to Argos to spend them (see folding table, kitchen compost bin and new steam iron in photo above), and then decided that while I was at that end of town I might at well do the band's banking as well. The heat nearly finished me off!

When I got home I turned on the fans, drank gallons of water and started photographing all the stuff. I did the things taking the most space first and then stopped with the photographing to concentrate on placing the adverts - it will be a lot easier as soon as the 'big' things are gone. After another stop for refreshments I carried on and finished photographing everything else then placed the adverts for most of the rest, and I've emailed a friend to ask about the remainder because I don't really know what any of it is ... just a pile of mystery objects  to my untrained eye. He emailed me back late last night with full descriptions and an indication of value so today I will try to find time to place those adverts as well.

I've also almost completed the draft of the band handbook ready to issue for the first review by the committee. Once I'd got my head around how I wanted it organised it was simple to do. I will finish typing it up later this week and email it out to the others, and in the meantime will start printing the new Christmas music ready to take it to the printer for the bulk copies. 

Today, will be less busy! It's the monthly book group tonight but the rest of the day will be spent indoors ... typing up the handbook, placing adverts, printing music, some personal admin, and playing the piano or tenor horn. 

Monday, 29 July 2019


There's nothing in the diary for today but rather a lot on the list! I have to buy a new SD card for my camera as the old one is playing up, so while I'm out I will do the bits of shopping I need - fresh veg, squash, curry leaves, and loo rolls. Then it's back home and the mini project for today is to finish photographing the items I want to sell and complete the adverts. All of that is definitely achievable and I should be finished by lunch time, provided all the technology works as it should!

This afternoon I want to make a start on updating the information in the handbook for new band members and look at the best way to present it on our new website. I'm starting with the information to do with absence and, when that's ready for review, I will have some idea of how long it will take me to update the rest of it. I've been putting this off for ages but I had a look through the existing handbook a few days ago and decided that the information in there is so out of date that I need to treat this as a priority. So updating the handbook and also organising the printing of our new Christmas music will be my summer project for the band. 

This evening is left free to just do whatever I feel like. I'm not expecting any visitors so I'll either be reading, watching TV, or listening to music.

Sunday, 28 July 2019


For most of yesterday I had that niggling feeling that I'd forgotten to do something. I don't know why I didn't do it earlier, but mid afternoon I checked my diary and there it was ... I had a ticket to see the screening of Andre Rieu's 2019 Maastricht concert at 6 pm. I knew I was going but in my mind it wasn't until today (Sunday). Seeing it in the diary I remembered changing the venue as the tickets were cheaper and I'd had to book the Saturday instead. Still no harm done, and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. I know Andre Rieu isn't to everyone's liking but it was just what I needed yesterday and raised my spirits.

That feeling has stayed with me on waking today. I've been out for an early morning walk already and ... well, that's probably most of my energy used up for the day! I need to do a little weeding and some deadheading in the garden and, as soon as I finish this post, I'll put the final load of washing in and will start a lentil and veggie concoction in the slow cooker. Then it'll be a pottering about the home sort of day with plenty of reading, maybe a nap or two, and ... who knows what else! 

Saturday, 27 July 2019


There's no band practice this morning so I feel at a bit of a loose end. I'm not sure what to expect in terms of the weather but if it stays fine I'll maybe get out and take some photos, probably along the canal. Failing that, plan B is to have a look at the stuff I still have left to sell and spend the morning taking the remainder of the photos. I keep thinking I've got to the end, then open a cupboard and discover more stuff! Oh, and I need to finish off the shredding.

This afternoon I hope to do a bit more in the garden and then this evening will be devoted to catching up on some of the TV programmes I've missed or maybe watching a film if there's anything on worth watching. 

So ... a quiet weekend, fitting in a couple of essential task and then just doing whatever takes my fancy.

Friday, 26 July 2019


I haven't looked outside yet so I don't know what the weather is doing but it definitely feels cooler, thank goodness. There was thunder storm during the night so the garden will have had a good soaking.

It's another day at home today. I did pop out yesterday to one of the schools I used to teach in (to collect an instrument from one of the children who left the band back in December) and had a long chat with the admin staff. G also turned up to cut my hair so that was another opportunity to chat to someone. Today I'll be completely on my own so am looking forward to a busy morning and a relaxing afternoon and evening.

This morning, once I get my act together and go downstairs, will be taken up with cooking some meals for the freezer - bolognese sauce in the slow cooker and a chilli on the hob. I have plenty of left over vegetables from yesterday's meal so will also have some bubble and squeak to freeze, and I'll use up some odds and ends of things in the freezer to make a veggie pasta bake for my meal tonight. I also hope to catch up with the remainder of the washing this morning which will dry quickly but I doubt I'll get round to doing any ironing.

This afternoon is piano playing, just playing favourite pieces for enjoyment rather than trying to learn anything new, and I'm sure there will be some time to curl up in my reading chair and lose myself in a book. I'll also fit in some tenor horn practice as well.

Then this evening I'll be watching 'Galaxy Quest', which was supposed to be our film night choice but we've decided to turn the evening around, so that we all watch the film during the month and then discuss the film when we meet up for the Girls' Night In ... so a film version of the book group. 

Thursday, 25 July 2019


We're due for another hot day so I don't expect I'll get much done today. It's too hot to even think about sitting out on the patio so I'll be tucked up indoors with the blinds closed to stop the sunlight overheating the room (the back of the house is in direct sunlight all afternoon), and the fans working overtime to keep the temperature at a decent level. I'll either watch a film if there's one I fancy on TV or iPlayer, or I may just read. It's another one of those 'whatever takes my fancy' days! I may be having my hair cut but I'm not sure ... I've just written 'haircut?' in my diary with no time against it so it may happen, it may not. G comes to my house to cut my hair so it's not a problem as I'm staying in anyway.

We're due to have some rain tomorrow and Saturday so they are set aside to do some cooking. I have all the ingredients and now I need to get some meals made for the freezer - using the slow cooker and the hob so the kitchen doesn't get too hot. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2019


Best laid plan and all that ...

In the end I didn't get to the skip and the charity shop yesterday, so I still have that to do later in the week. The texts and phone calls started just before 8 am. The first one was to cancel the arrangement for the evening which was to meet up with Sue and Julie, as Sue is off on a last minute holiday and this was followed very swiftly by a phone call from friends asking if I was in and could they call in to see me on their way back home to London from Plymouth. They offered to bring cake so of course I said yes! We did our teacher training together many moons ago and I don't get to see them very often so this was a lovely surprise. They stayed until about 3 pm and I was just thinking that I could go over to Julie's when the phone rang again, asking if I wanted to join K and L on a picnic ... so I did. I got home from that at about 9 pm and phoned Julie for a chat and to rearrange when we are meeting up.

So that was my yesterday! Today it's all about the band. I have the banking to do and then I'm meeting with the band secretary at 11 am to make sure we are singing from the same hymn sheet before we meet with the new director of the Town Hall to try to resolve a huge issue that affects the band.

I have no other plans for today except to relax ... the heat is sapping my energy and I don't feel much like doing anything. I was supposed to be doing some shopping but have ordered an online delivery instead so I will be able to get my meals organised once it is delivered later in the week.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019


My plan for today is to move as much unwanted stuff out of the house as possible. I have things from the garage and garden to take to the skip, probably two car loads, and then some more donations to take to the charity shop. If I can get that done and out of the way I will be in a good position to see what's left to still sort out.

I actually summoned up the energy to do a bit of work in the garden yesterday evening. We had lots of lovely rain on Friday, which the garden desperately needed, but that obviously encouraged a few weeds to grow. It was a simple ten minute task to work through the back garden and remove any unwanted green growth, so all I need to do out there this week is carry on clearing the centre bed and stay on top of the watering during the (very) hot weather we have been promised. 

I'll be out tomorrow to meet up with the band secretary for a meeting, and will also take the time to complete the banking and to do some odds and ends of shopping. Then, my focus has to be working out how to rescue my sofa and return it to its pristine state. This happened last week ...

... a complete accident, but the end result is a huge green/blue stain from an Indian cotton dress worn by a friend. The sofa was treated with a Scotch-guard equivalent when I bought it, so the stain should not have penetrated the cloth. I just need to work out what to use, and how to avoid ruining the texture of the linen type cloth in the process. And then I need to buy some decent throws to avoid anything similar happening in the future! Strangely, I'm not as upset as I thought I'd be as I'm sure this isn't a permanent stain and I'll be able to remove it, even if I have to employ a professional to do the job.

Monday, 22 July 2019


That's it! Band and teaching have finished for the current academic year so my time is completely my own until September. I am officially on holiday ... another staycation.

I'm feeling rather drained after such a busy weekend so I am having a 'do nothing' day today, and then will continue with the garden and the decluttering for the remainder of July, leaving the whole of August as a holiday. I'm so close to completing the decluttering and garden that I can't stop now!

The band attended the Civic Service yesterday, playing before and after the actual service. The mayor hosts a buffet meal for all participants after the service and that's when local groups and charities are presented with cheques from the money raised through the mayor's fundraising efforts. In previous years we always sat there wondering why the band was never selected to receive a cheque, only to find out that you had to apply! So we did and this year the band was lucky enough to receive a cheque for £1,000 - I don't know what we'll do with the money yet, that'll be decided by the new committee next time we meet. 

I forgot to mention that the issue with the unreliable cleaner has been resolved. S is no longer working for the company (just resigned without giving any notice), and I now have A who is, I think, quite shy and just gets on with her work without constant interruptions to answer her phone or wanting to chat. I think the new arrangement is going to be fine.

Sunday, 21 July 2019


I'm in a rush, so another short post I'm afraid. 

I overslept this morning and am now playing catch up with myself in the hope I can get my act together before we have to play in church this afternoon. I need a shower and some food and a lot of luck!

Oh, and guess who is the band treasurer? Yes, it's me again for the time being, but someone else will take over the post after Christmas.

Saturday, 20 July 2019


I balanced the accounts! A middle of the night brainwave was all that was needed, but I am tired this morning. As expected it was my own silly mistake, which was glaringly obvious once I'd spotted it. Still it's done now and I can stop worrying and just enjoy the morning ... the AGM, a short concert to parents and then the presentation of certificates and cups to the under 18s. It's always a lovely way to finish up before the summer break.

I don't have any other plans for the rest of the day. We're due some more rain so whatever I do is likely to be indoors, so maybe some piano playing or possibly some more research on my family tree. 

Friday, 19 July 2019


It's raining! Hurray!

I can't get the accounts to balance!

I am panicking!

Thursday, 18 July 2019


The rest of this week is all about the band, tidying up records and preparing for the end of the academic year. We have the AGM, end of year concert and presentation of awards on Saturday, and then on Sunday we are playing at the annual Civic Service in church. Both are uniformed events so a must do task for today is to wash and iron two white shirts.

Today I'm concentrating on the financial records in the hope that someone agrees to take over the role of Treasurer. Any need for banking of monies can wait until tomorrow, but my plan is that by the end of today everything relating to the Treasurer role will be up to date and ready to hand over. 

The only other thing I must do today is to book an appointment for the heart clinic. The letter arrived on Saturday but it asks that you wait for four working days after seeing your doctor before trying to book an appointment, so today's the day! In theory this is a good system but it reality it is a nightmare; last time it took several attempts and a final wait in the queue for over 40 minutes.

Apart from those things there will be regular coffee and comfort breaks, a stop for an hour at lunch time to eat and read, and I'll water the garden tonight once it cools down.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019


the crocosmia are starting to flower

The film, Yesterday, was a big hit with all of us. We went to a teatime screening so I was home by 8:30 pm and, after watering the garden, spent the rest of the evening listening to Beatles' songs ... brought back lots of memories but in a happy way.

Today is more bits and pieces of admin, a little sorting in the dining room, and a trip to the skip if I have time. Then a quiet evening at home, piano, reading and maybe watching TV if there is anything decent on.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019


I don't really have much to chat about today so this will be a short post!

Last night's book group was interesting - most of the others hadn't read the book so I could have got away with not finishing it! The two who had read it agreed with my own thoughts, that it was a good story which would be significantly improved by removing all the annoying repetitive descriptions. Our next choice is 'The Left Hand of Darkness' by Ursula le Guin. 

We're all off to the cinema tonight to see 'Yesterday' and the rest of my day will be taken up with various bits of admin, some personal and some for the band. 

Monday, 15 July 2019


I had a very lazy day yesterday and only made it out in the garden to take this photo! I was overtired and needed to rest. 

This morning will be taken up with bits and bobs for band. I want to get as much done before we finish for the summer so that I can have a complete break from it, although the committee may have to meet up more than once during the summer break to resolve a huge problem that reared its ugly head yesterday.

Wiltshire schools finish next week but that'll be a lively week for the children with end of year parties, shows and discos, so I am finishing up my teaching a week early. As today is their last lesson until September they get to look back over the pieces they've worked this term on and choose their favourites, which is fun for them and, as well as being a nice easy lesson for me, it also gives me the opportunity to review their progress and determine the weaker areas for focus next term.

Tonight I'll be out to meet with friends for the monthly Sci-Fi book group. I am pleased to report that I finished the book yesterday and enjoyed it. There are two more in the series but, much as I enjoyed this one, I don't think I will read the others - I have too many other books on my 'to read' list so I have to be realistic and draw the line somewhere.

Sunday, 14 July 2019


So, it's been hot and sunny for the last three weeks with no sign of rain but yesterday, when we were busking, can you guess what happened? Yes, it rained! Fortunately only light rain for about fifteen minutes, just long enough so that we spent the rest of the morning in damp clothes with soggy music ... all part of the fun of busking!

I forgot to mention that my nephew came round after he'd finished work on Friday night and sorted out the garden for me. I collected him from the train station at 8:30pm and then dropped him back home at 10:30pm, and in that time he sorted the gravel and membrane on all the beds around the garden ... the last couple were finished off in the dark. It would have taken me hours and hours to do that on my own!

I now need to sweep the patio and tidy up some of the edges but ... it's done and I feel an enormous sense of relief. I have the centre bed to do (top left hand corner of the photo) which won't take long and if I can't manage, he'll come back and do that for me as well. That bed will be covered in bark once it's cleared and I'm hoping to get that done by the end of the month.

The bonus of getting the gravel on the garden is that the garage decluttering has started. That's where the bags of gravel were stored and where there is now a big empty space instead. When I feel ready I can look at what's left in the garage and start making decisions about the items that need to go.

Tonight will be spent at home reading (only 56 pages to go) and then I'll see if there is anything I fancy watching on TV. 

Saturday, 13 July 2019


Well the blood results weren't quite as good as I was expecting and there isn't a clear reason why I feel as I do. I need to try to lower my cholesterol level through diet and this will be reviewed again in October. This isn't a new problem and a slightly higher than average reading seems to be the norm for me and several of my immediate family. The current reading is not causing concern and I don't need to start taking medication for it, but the reading is just on the border where medical advice is to intervene and treat the condition. The more worrying result was that there is an indication that my heart may not be pumping as efficiently as it should so I will be referred to the heart clinic for further testing. This type of heart failure is a known complication of long term hypertension but my doctor feels confident that this next test will confirm that I don't actually have the condition; I don't have any of the other common symptoms so I am hoping he is right!

So for now it's back to diet and exercise. I'm reading up on the foods known to reduce cholesterol and will be tweaking my diet accordingly. The Slimming World plan will be be workable under this new regime (I think) but I am debating whether to do a combination of SW and calorie counting ... I still have to decide. I can also start adding in some regular exercise.

We are taking the kids busking in the town centre today so am hoping it stays dry and is not too sunny as there is no shade where we are playing. I'll be taking plenty of water and will be seated to play, so am hoping to avoid any possibility of fainting in the heat!

After that I'll be spending the rest of the day at home. I picked up some holiday brochures and will be spending the next few weeks poring over them and trying to decide where I'd like to go. I'm looking for something for next year, so have plenty of time to dream.

Friday, 12 July 2019


I'm joining in with a new weekly meme, created originally by Dr Brene Brown and mentioned on  Mary-Lou's blog, so a big thank you to Mary-Lou for letting us know about this. 

Trusting ... 

... that the results of the recent blood tests provide the information my doctor needs to work out why I am feeling so tired and unwell all the time. 

Grateful ...

...for the electric fans that have kept the inside of my house cool during this hot weather. 

Inspired ...

... by a blog post written by Sandie explaining about goal mapping. It inspired me to do some more reading on the subject and to tweak the way I currently plan for the changes I want in my life.

Fun ...

... We're taking the band busking in town tomorrow. It'll be the first time playing out for some of the children but the majority know what to expect and how to make it a fun event. 


The local history walk was okay but not as informative as I'd hoped. The walk leader kept mixing up his dates and didn't point out much around the town. We followed him around the town centre, stopping in 10 different places while he continued to talk and present a few facts but those facts didn't always relate to where we were standing. It was a bit of a strange set up and would have worked better as a talk with slides to look at. He's leading a couple of other walks which I'll still go on as I've reserved my place but I wouldn't recommend the walks to anyone else.
I have a doctor's appointment this morning when I'll hear the results of my recent blood tests. I can also tell him about my dramatic fainting episode last week!

When I get back I'll be concentrating on preparing the band accounts ready to hand over to the new Treasurer next week. At least, I hope to be able to hand over as everyone has been notified that I plan to step down from that position and I'm hoping one of the parents will be prepared to take it on. If not, I suppose I'll have to do it for another year!

Apart from that it is reading, reading and more reading. 

Thursday, 11 July 2019


I'm doing one of the new to me activities later today, a themed walk around town arranged by the local museum. These are running for the first time this year and I have booked a place on three different walks. Today's theme is the history of the town.

Apart from that I have nothing else arranged and will divide my day between working in the garden or reading ... with several coffee breaks thrown in for good luck! I'm about half way through the book now so am more relaxed about it and confident I will finish in time.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019


There's not much in the diary for this morning so I will be reading. Guess who has left it to the last minute to read this month's selection for the book group? Of course, because I've left it so late it is a big book ... 526 pages of fairly small print and I'm currently on page 85. I have until Monday to finish it, which sounds like plenty of time but I actually don't have much free time for the rest of this week so ... I'm starting to panic!

Last night's Girls' Night In was a success and we've agreed the date for next month. A has suggested renting a cottage and arranging a weekend away together which will be lovely if we can get it organised but finding a weekend we can all make with our other commitments will be a miracle. It doesn't help that I'm committed for most Saturdays with the band and when I am free, someone else isn't. And before someone asks ... I teach the new beginners and already have a couple of other Saturday trips booked so it isn't fair to the others to take any more time out. We've agreed our level of commitment and need to all stick to it.

This afternoon I'm meeting another adult band member, S, for coffee. We rarely get a chance to chat on a Saturday morning so it'll be good to catch up on his news and hear how things are going for him.

This evening, if I feel I've read enough of the book to give myself a chance of finishing it in time, I will do some more tidying in the garden or, alternatively will be stuck with my nose in the book and trying to speed through it!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019


Yesterday turned out to be busier than I'd planned. The certificates are printed and I finished writing both of my reports for the band's AGM - Treasurer and Beginners. I tidied the kitchen and ran a couple of loads of washing, then checked the remainder of the upstairs rooms to see if there was anything else that I want to let go ... there will most likely be things in my playroom, but for the time being the upstairs of the house is finished. Well, it will be finished when I hang the pictures which will happen some time this week.

After lunch I took a car load of rubbish, mainly garden waste but also some stuff from the garage, to the skip. I refer to it as the skip but it is actually a recycling yard. Trips to the skip used to be an ordeal but since the new company has taken over it's a doddle with the staff offering to help as soon as I started to lift bags out of the car. I always sort it out at home so all I have to do is tell them what's in each bag and they do all the hard work actually climbing the steps up to the skips and throwing the stuff in. It's the steps that I find the most tiring!

Back home and time for a sit down with coffee and cake (I know!!) before the teaching, which as I expected was tremendous fun. I left it till the heat had gone and then did another hour in the garden, covering some of the small triangular beds with membrane and enough gravel to hold the membrane in place. Last time I tried to do it it was very windy and too much of a struggle but this was manageable so if all goes well today I will do some more. My nephew forgot but in his defence also had a migraine/sunstroke and wasn't feeling too good. I haven't rescheduled yet because I may be able to tackle the rest myself, always assuming one of my neighbours will move the remaining bags of gravel out of the garage for me, which I'm sure they will. I need to add more gravel to the beds I've already covered and then in between tackling the rest of the membrane and gravel I can carry on clearing the remaining bed ... working 20-30 minutes at a time and then taking a rest and it'll soon be done.

It's our monthly Girls' Night In tonight so am looking forward to catching up with them all.

Monday, 8 July 2019


It's my teaching day today so I have that to look forward to this afternoon. There's only four of them this week as the fifth one in on holiday in Florida, not that I'm jealous!

I'll have to go to the printers later this morning without fail. I've prepared all of the certificates for the band's annual awards and of course my printer sensed how important it is so refused to cooperate. I don't understand how printers know these things! 

The planned garden work didn't happen yesterday. I haven't found out why yet but it's completely out of character for my nephew to let me down, so am hoping that everything is okay. I haven't heard of anything serious happening so no news is good news and am hoping he just forgot! I'm obviously disappointed but am not stressing about it just yet. 

Sunday, 7 July 2019


Today is the big day ... Operation Garden. My fingers are crossed that nothing goes wrong and that we don't have to reschedule.

I managed to weed all the beds that need the membrane and gravel but haven't finished the centre bed yet. That needs to be cleared completely, with the exception of the crab apple tree - the grasses have started to take over and the whole bed looks too crowded and generally a bit of a mess. It's not that big so I'm hoping my nephew will still have enough time and energy to dig it over before he goes home. If not, I'll just do it bit by bit during the week. The plants that are worth saving from there will either go into the pots or go to friends.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I'll be having an admin day to get ready for the band's AGM which is in two weeks time. I'm also in the middle of contacting the local schools to arrange a date and time in September for me to visit with an assortment of brass instruments and try to get some new players for the band. 

Saturday, 6 July 2019


Preparation for Sunday's garden maintenance is well under way. I have cleared the weeds from all the beds on the longest side of the garden and have made a start on the narrow bed that runs along the bottom. I will definitely complete the narrow bed later today and may also be able to clear the center bed as well ... it all depends on it being cool enough later this afternoon.

This morning sees the last proper band practice of this academic year. We are taking all of the children busking next week and the following week it is the end of year concert and presentation of awards, after which we will break until schools resume in September. I am ready for the break!

Friday, 5 July 2019


I'm joining in with a new weekly meme, created originally by Dr Brene Brown and mentioned on  Mary-Lou's blog, so a big thank you to Mary-Lou for letting us know about this. 

Trusting ... 

... that the cleaning company find a replacement cleaner for me. S has phoned in sick again! They are sending someone out later this afternoon and will arrange for a permanent replacement before the next visit is due.

Grateful ...

...for the support offered by family and friends to get the garden back under control. It's been a nagging worry at the back of my mind for a while now and I am so grateful for the people who are rallying round to help me get the back garden sorted out this weekend. 

Inspired ...

... by the approach to learning of one of the young girls I teach on a Monday afternoon. She is not a 'natural' musician and finds every aspect of music hard to put into practice but she has persevered, practiced regularly and her hard work has paid off - she doesn't know yet, but she will be awarded 'Most Improved Player' at the band's annual awards in three weeks time. 

Fun ...

... I've been filling up my diary with plenty of fun activities for July. In addition to the usual book groups, film nights, quizzes and Girls' Night In, yesterday I booked my ticket to see 'Andre Rieu's 2019 Maastricht Concert - Shall We Dance?' which is being shown at the Wiltshire Music Centre, and have set aside three other dates to do something that is new to me. At the moment these something new activities will be a trip to Bristol to see the city from the top deck of one of their tourist buses, a day at a National Trust property I've never visited, and a themed guided walk around Trowbridge. July is turning out to be a good month and I'm looking forward to it all!


I had a very quiet day yesterday and only went out once to collect Lauren from Bath and drive her back to Melksham. Apart from that little excursion I didn't stray far from the sofa. I did however, exercise my brain! Lots of lists have been created, really just a brainstorming session of ideas for ways of making my life more fulfilling. I will keep adding to the lists over the next few weeks, then start  discarding the nonsense and see what I'm left with. 

I was up very early this morning, as in 5am early, so spent an hour weeding in the back garden before it got too hot. I've managed to clear most of the longest side so will aim for another hour this evening after it cools down. If I can do that it will just leave the narrow bed along the bottom of the garden to do on Saturday, and then I'll be ready for my nephew to sort out the membrane and gravel on Sunday.

S should be here at lunchtime to clean the house: I am keeping my fingers crossed that she turns up but if there is a problem this time I will ask for a different cleaner. 

Apart from wanting to do another stint in the garden I don't have any other plans for today. I'll just see what takes my fancy and do that! 

Thursday, 4 July 2019


Despite a little mishap (which I'll explain later), yesterday's filming of a celebrity version of Tipping Point was brilliant ... really good fun. The Tipping Point machine is not fully automated so there are lots of breaks in the recording where a runner comes on to either count the discs or remove them, and during these breaks there was lots of banter between the host and the celebrities and also with the audience. It took three hours to record what will be transmitted as a one hour show! We've been asked to 'keep the secret' and not give away the names of the celebrities ... so I won't, but will say I'd only heard of one of them!

The mishap was that I fainted in the queue when waiting to go in and needed the attention of the studio's paramedic. I had plenty of water with me and had eaten a pasta lunch about 30 minutes earlier before starting to queue, but we were then queuing for over 40 minutes on a very hot day with no shade, nowhere to sit, and no breeze. I recovered very quickly and the paramedic took me indoors to a very cool room (sheer bliss!) and checked all my stats ... my blood pressure was very low, hence the fainting, and the studio lady (don't know what her job was, but she was very kind to me), providing me with lots of bottles of iced water and mini packets of biscuits as she thought I might be in need of a sugar snack during the filming ... which as it turned out, I was! As I said, I felt better almost immediately and was well enough to watch the show, and also felt well enough to cope with the hour long drive home, although I did go and buy a meal before leaving Bristol. 

I slept in this morning and have woken with no after affects. My only commitment today is to collect Lauren from her new job and drive her to her leaving do from her previous job ... they hadn't taken into account that she uses public transport and even with me giving her a lift she will be at least half an hour late! 

As for the rest of today, I'll be taking it easy. I was going to go to Bath a couple of hours before needing to meet Lauren so I could take some photos, but after yesterday have decided against that plan. I haven't been out yet but it looks very sunny and very hot, so I don't want a repeat of yesterday! I'll take my camera with me and try for a few photos in the wooded area right next to the car park where I'm waiting for Lauren if I feel up to it ... we'll see how it goes. It's Wimbledon, so there is bound to be some tennis worth watching on TV.