Friday, 31 January 2020


Friday has evolved into an admin day. I'm trying, but failing miserably, to sort out the files on my laptop. The laptop doesn't want to play and is on a go-slow for some unknown reason and the broadband service is intermittent this morning. I'm not giving up though!

I have plenty of space in the playroom cupboards now that the band stuff has gone so I can get on with spreading my own stuff out. It'll be a task for next week and is something that'll take a while but will be worth it in the end. I have the empty space equivalent to one whole cupboard available so, with a bit of thought and some careful organisation, I can make the space work properly for me.

I hope the rain holds of as I'm off to Bath with L later this afternoon. We have tickets for an event to do with the Chinese New Year but I will tell you all about it tomorrow.

WPSH - January Link Up

I don't have much to show this time but I'm sure the rest of you have done better! My only contribution to the hunt was this photo, which I've shown before. This is for No 12, time for tea.

I haven't been able to add a linky so please comment below and I'll be round to visit your blog over the weekend.  

Thursday, 30 January 2020


It's nearly lunchtime and I'm still in my dressing gown. Somehow I don't think much will be done today!

Yesterday turned out to be a fun filled day. I've decided that, while the prices are so low, I'll make Wednesday nights a film night and go to the cinema. Of course, this is assuming there is something I want to see but if not I can always find something to watch on Netflix and have the film night at home instead. I'll ask the others if they want to join me but it is something I am happy to do on my own if they can't make it.

The print for the living room has been ordered and should arrive next Wednesday or Thursday. It's big and heavy, measuring 100 cms x 70 cms including the frame, so I may need some help to hang it. I've also ordered a floating shelf to go above the radiator and have a few more odd jobs so, if my nephew is busy, I'll contact the handyman to come in and sort it all out for me. 

I've sent my application to join the Devizes U3A so will look to joining one or two or the groups in February, once I receive the contact details. I've also found a couple of opportunities, not to do with the U3A, for getting started on knitting and/or crochet. I know these are things I can learn myself with the aid of YouTube, but I am also considering them from the social aspect which teaching myself at home won't address. I haven't decided yet when to try one of these options ... I'm just letting the idea bubble away for now.

My post has just arrived and included notification from British Rail that they will be working overnights for the next week or two to update their cables, a job which needs the heavy machinery. They have apologised in advance for the noise! The rail line runs around the edge of my part of the village and is far enough away that I am hopeful my sleep won't be disturbed. It all depends on the direction of the wind ... when they did the signals I was aware of them working if I listened carefully but it wasn't loud enough to disturb sleep. However the time before when they repaired a section of the rail, no-one  got any sleep for the entire week. 

I don't have any plans for the rest of the day. J brought her copy of the latest Lee Child book round yesterday so I will probably start reading that. 

Wednesday, 29 January 2020


I've spent most of the morning talking with the tax office. When I went to submit a change to my tax return I couldn't get it to work and it now seems that I no longer need to complete one. So that's one less thing to worry about, although I don't fully understand why the system accepted a return earlier in the financial year but now won't. Anyway, I have printed out the reference to the conversation and also the confirmation of removal, just in case!

J is due to arrive  at 12:30. She's bringing lunch with her, just a meal deal from Sainsbury, and then we will work out the size of the print so I can place the order. I've decided against moving the furniture today because I still have a couple of piles of band stuff on the floor which will be in the way. I'll reorganise the furniture next week once the band stuff is gone.

We're off the the cinema tonight, we being J, L and myself, to see Bad Boys For Life starring Will Smith. It should be a cheap evening as the ODEON have reduced all of their prices so tickets now seem to be in the £5 - £6 range instead of the previous price of £10 - £12. I'm not sure why they've cut their prices but I hope it is a permanent thing. I also have a 2 for 1 offer so we'll share the saving between us.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020


Choir was good fun last night. We celebrated the Chinese New Year (in a very small way!) so everyone had a fortune cookie and our vocal warm ups were in Mandarin. My fortune was very apt and I hope it comes true ... "this is the year you expand your friendship group". We made good progress on three songs: Somewhere Over The Rainbow/Wonderful World, For Good (from the musical, Wicked), and Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way Or Another. 

I've handed over the majority of the band stuff. The digital music files were handed over last night and I met the new treasurer this morning for the financial side. Just the instrument database side of things to go and then I'll be finished. I know the new treasurer and will be seeing her next week to formally sign off on the finances but will also be taking my diary and we'll arrange to meet for coffee or something.

J will be round tomorrow to help move the big sofa (it needs to shift along a few inches) and I want to swap the Davenport and the armchair around. Then we'll work out which size print will work best on the long wall above the  sofa and I'll be able to place the order. 

I'm applying to join the Devizes U3A as they have quite a few groups I'm interested in. I haven't had much luck with the the two local ones I've tried so far so I'm going to try slightly farther afield and see how I get on. Devizes is about 11 miles away so it's not too far and the plus point is that the groups I'm interested in meet on days that fit my current arrangements. I'm considering family history, discussion, mah-jong, and bridge. I'll try them one at a time and see how I get on.

Sunday, 26 January 2020


Despite feeling rather half-hearted about it yesterday, I made good progress on sorting out everything that has to go back to the band. By the end of today it should be ready ... unless I get side-tracked. 

Whether it's finished or not I'll take a break this evening to watch Dancing on Ice and Vera and then finish off tomorrow. I have to have the first lot ready for Tuesday and the rest by Friday so by the end of the week I'll be in a position to look forward properly. 

I have been looking for ideas of things I can try out for an additional social activity. From my last attempt, the walking didn't work out but the choir was a success. This time I am considering knit and natter, mah-jong, bridge, and a discussion group. Oh, and I managed to get a place on the calligraphy workshop next month so that may also open up other opportunities.

Saturday, 25 January 2020


... and back to my normal! I didn't set the alarm last night which meant I didn't wake until just after 11 o'clock so the morning has been lost, which is a bit frustrating as I have some catching up to do.

Yesterday turned out to be A Very Important Day. Julie contacted me with the wonderful news that her first granddaughter was born three weeks early and made her entrance to the world in the early hours of yesterday morning. Mummy and Baby P are both doing well. Mummy sent me a photo of the little beauty and I'll be visiting once they leave hospital. The not so good news is that Julie's Mum's health is failing and the prognosis is not good.

Today, my focus will be on collating the remainder of the band stuff ready for the final handover next week. The delay was down to me being ill but it's in my interest to get this done as I've had to deal with a couple of questions this morning which they should be working out for themselves. Once I get rid of everything I will be in a better position to plead ignorance! It's mostly computer based so nothing too strenuous. I also need to check that my tax return has submitted correctly as the deadline is the 31st of this month.

This evening will be a film night ... something from Netflix, but I don't know what I fancy yet. 

Friday, 24 January 2020

Friday ...

... and no sign of another migraine, thank goodness. I abandoned all thoughts of going out for a walk as soon as I opened the front door ... much too cold out there! I'm still feeling fragile and there is a limit to what I'll put up with.

I opened the front door when my brother in law arrived with a delivery of books from my sister ... lots of good ones this time so they've all found a home in the bookcase for now. They are having a final tidy up and clear out ready to put their house on the market next week. They're staying in this area but want to downsize properly this time, unlike the last time when they were planning to downsize but ended up buying a larger property to which they added a large extension. I'm waiting, with some amusement, to see what they end up with this time.

I've been looking at various pieces of artwork for the living room walls and have finally found a photographic print of a sea view I like. It's sold in a black wooden frame which I think will look odd in the room, so may want to change that for white or a lighter wood at some time in the future but it will do for now. J is coming round next week to help me move the furniture around and measure up to find which size print will look best. My other plan for the room is to add a floating shelf on the wall above the biggest radiator. I'll need to get someone to do this for me as the wall is the partition wall between the understairs cupboard where the mains electricity gubbins is and I don't want to electrocute myself. If it can't be done I'll go for a radiator shelf instead but they can be a bit wobbly so it would only be done as a last resort.

My National Trust membership pack arrived in the post this morning so I will amuse myself this afternoon by entering the competitions in the magazine. I qualify for a reduced membership rate this year, due to my age and continuous membership for the last five years, so will save 25% amounting to a reduction of £18 a year. I'm banking all of my savings, including those from food bargains, and will put them towards a holiday or theatre ticket in 2021 ... it soon mounts up, I have nearly £100 already and we're still in January!

Thursday, 23 January 2020


Famous last words! After saying I felt I'd be okay the next day, I was laid low by yet another migraine. I'm back on my feet now but will have to take it easy for the next few days. I don't have the energy to read or watch TV so I really am doing nothing at the moment.

G will be here soon to cut my hair. I was going to cancel but decided to keep the appointment in the hope it'll cheer me up. Once she's left, I'll change the bed sheets, have a soak in the bath, and then try to eat something more substantial than dry toast. Luckily there is nothing in the diary until Monday so I have the luxury of doing very little for the next few days!

Thank you for your comments on my last post. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2020


I'm feeling much more human today! I'm still drained from the migraine but that's the only residual symptom and another good night's sleep will see the end of it.

I have one lesson to do later on but that's my only commitment for today. I didn't wake until about 11 o'clock and have done nothing. I'll continue doing nothing, with just the 30 minute lesson sandwiched in between, for the rest of the day.

When I say nothing, I really mean I have occupied my time with blog and book reading, online games and searching for knitting patterns, all interspersed with hot drinks and plenty of daydreaming. So far, it's been a pleasant day.

It's still very foggy outside and the temperature has fallen - I've had to turn the heating up - so I doubt I would have gone out anyway. It's wonderful to have the freedom to choose to stay indoors, all snug and warm, and be thankful for my lot 

Monday, 20 January 2020


Well I paid the price for overdoing things. I woke during the night with a severe migraine, too advanced to take any medication so had to let it run its course. I'm over the worst now so will try to eat something, then go back to bed and hopefully feel better after some more sleep. I cancelled today's lessons - brass instruments played by learners is too much to contemplate! I doubt I'll make it to choir either. 

I'm hoping I feel better tomorrow as I plan to investigate knitting, crochet, and rag rug making sessions held in a local wool shop.

Sunday, 19 January 2020


I was planning on a quiet day today after spending a couple of days away for the memorial service ... such a sad occasion but it was lovely to catch up with people I haven't seen for years.

I've overdone things and really needed to rest today but decided to get on with the must-do tasks so that I can rest properly before teaching and choir tomorrow. So, the recycling box (glass, tins, paper) has been filled and placed outside for tomorrow's kerbside collection. I've taken the gas and electricity meter readings and submitted them online, and later on will check whether I'd be better off changing to a new supplier as my current pricing contract is up for renewal. I've also hoovered through the downstairs rooms and prepared the music room ready for lessons.

Food-wise, I've reorganised the freezers from where I just dumped everything in on Thursday. Everything is now where it should be with the portions for this week and next ready in the kitchen freezer to save searching through every single drawer. I've also listed all the contents: ever the optimist, I hope to tick meals off as I use them ... I'll start well but then forget as I always do. It's one feat of organisation too many for me!! I'm in the middle of cooking a roast dinner and will plate up another meal for tomorrow to save time. 

And that's it. Apart from finishing off the roast and then the washing up, I won't do anything else today. Dancing on Ice and the new Vera series are my viewing choices for later and I'll read, or nap, until then, with bedtime as soon as Vera solves this week's crime. 

Friday, 17 January 2020


I feel awful saying this but I completely forgot that I'm going to a memorial service for a college friend today. Thankfully I remembered last night and managed to get myself organised. This is a scheduled post by the way.

The service is in Weymouth and we may be staying overnight or longer, but I had all those yellow sticker bargains in the fridge which needed to be dealt with so last night I set to and made a start on the bulk cooking. I put a pork casserole in the slow cooker and let it cook overnight, and last night I cooked up all the lamb mince, making shepherds pie, chilli, and Bolognese sauce. I divided the pack of pork loin chops and have frozen them individually, and jointed the large chicken freezing some portions and using the rest to cook a chicken curry in the actifry. Most of the veg has now be used up but the rest will be fine until I get back and the remainder of the meat has gone straight in the freezer for now. 

I'm getting a lift with friends so now don't need to fret about a fridge full of meat and can stay as long as I want. Weymouth is only a 1 hour 40 minutes drive away so we  may come back tonight but if we do decide to stay over, I may not write a post tomorrow.

Thursday, 16 January 2020


Well the calm weather didn't last long! It's been raining steadily since last night and the high winds are back - there are warnings that 28 areas in the county are flooded and 23 trees have fallen. Two roads at the other end of the village beyond the houses are flooded, something that happens more than once every year. Luckily I live at the higher end so won't have any problems, I just have to remember to drive the other way out of the village.

Despite the rain I decided that today was the day to get a few errands done and to restock the food. I was supposed to go to the bank but instead tried out a new feature on the banking app which allows you to deposit cheques using your phone camera. It all seems to have worked so now I need to wait for the funds to clear. If it all works out okay this will make depositing cheques so much easier in the future. So one errand completed without leaving home! 

It was obviously my lucky day today as they were sorting out the day's yellow sticker bargains at the supermarket. I was able to get £30.99 of meat, veg and bread for £19.93, all things on my list with the exception of some vegan meatballs  (!!) which I bought to see if I like them. I also saved an additional £11.85 on multibuys of produce that was on my list and which I'll eat regularly so I know it will get used.

On the way home I filled up with petrol, posted some letters and returned my library books. I was supposed to go to one of the DIY stores  to buy two new toilet seats but didn't have the energy so that will be back on the list for another day. At home I put all the shopping away and then crashed on the sofa ... I will be busy cooking tomorrow but I've done enough for today.

As for the rest of today I will be taking it easy, reading or watching a film. I'm relieved I don't need to go out again if I don't feel up to it - the wind is so loud I've had to turn the TV up and  it sounds like it's getting worse. Friends and family have texted to see if I need anything and my neighbour has called round to check that I'm okay. It's comforting to know that I have this level of support.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020


The storm has blown itself out and it's all calm again. There's a bit of sunshine and surprisingly it was warm enough to sit out on the patio this morning with a mug of hot coffee ... wrapped up warm in a coat, the air was completely still with no sign of a breeze and it was a pleasant ten or so minutes.

I had quite a good night's sleep and woke just after 10:30 feeling more refreshed than I have done recently. I had a soak in the bath, then dressed and had breakfast followed by coffee (on the patio). Since then I've been alternating between reading and updating my diary. I'm half way through Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh, a thriller which I am enjoying but the tiredness makes me forget what I've read so I have to keep going back over bits!

Julie gave me a month at a view planner for Christmas so I'm using it to track the balance between planned and unplanned days. So far I have looked at January, February and March and am pleased with how it is looking. Each month the split is currently about 50/50 which means that for half the days in each month I have plans in place to spend an amount of time with others and the remaining days will be spent quite happily on my own. If I look back at the months I'm sure the split will change to show more social activities as there will undoubtedly be invites to meet for coffee, lunch, cinema, etc. Looking at this overview on the planner, I think I'd like to find one more regular event in addition to the choir and maybe a couple of additional pupils, but on the whole I think it's a good balance. 

I'm at home all day today. S is poorly so he cancelled our regular coffee date; I was planning to go shopping when I was out but now can't be bothered, so that'll happen either tomorrow or Friday. On the way home from choir on Monday I bought a gammon ham on yellow sticker, reduced from £5.75 to £1.44, so I cooked that this morning and had a simple meal of ham, mashed potatoes and peas with piccalilli for lunch. There's enough left for about five more meals, so it was a bargain buy. I'll keep one portion out for tomorrow and will freeze the rest.

I've done my meal plan for the next month so will have to get organised and restock the cupboards and freezer over the next couple of days. If the forecast is correct we are due some bad weather with the possibility of snow, so I want to make sure I have plenty in.  I don't mind venturing out in snow to take photos but I don't like driving in it so, although I am hoping and praying that the forecast is wrong, I want to be prepared. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2020


Yet another morning in the land of nod. I eventually hauled myself out of bed just after midday so I had slept for 14 hours!

All four lessons (three yesterday and one today) went well and, even though none of them had practiced, there was no significant drop in standard. They all have new repertoire to work on this week so we'll see how they get on.

Choir last night was good fun. I initially sat there, completely drenched from walking from car to the building, thinking that I couldn't quite believe I had braved the storm to go but I'm glad I did. There were a couple of new people, one of whom was on her own so I sat next to her and chatted until we started singing. We continued to work on Somewhere Over The Rainbow and The Never Ending Story and started learning Budapest, the George Ezra hit.

Today I spent the afternoon relaxing. I don't feel ill, just have absolutely no energy at all, so passed the time reading until it was time to do today's lesson. Then straight after the lesson, I headed off to the Odeon to meet with L and J to watch Jumanji: The Next Level. Sometimes a sequel is disappointing, and this one has poor reviews, but I enjoyed it just as much as the first film so am glad I made the effort to go. 

Monday, 13 January 2020

Monday ...

... and another late start to the day. I didn't wake until midday and am now playing catch-up. I start up the lessons again today so have read through my notes from last term and have prepared the room ready for the first child to arrive at 3:30 pm - anything else can wait! I've already had the texts from parents advising that very little practice has been done (which I've interpreted to mean that there has been no practice at all), so today's lessons will be a refresher of the work we did last term. Frustrating, but next week will be better hopefully.

It's choir practice tonight, so the day won't be a complete loss. 

Sunday, 12 January 2020


Today has gone to pot before it started. I didn't set the alarm so slept through the entire morning, waking about 12:30 pm. All my ideas for the day have flown out of the window and I'm settling in for a quiet day at home.

The trip to the cinema has been rescheduled for Tuesday evening and instead of going on my own I will now be joined by L and possibly J. I've also enquired about attending a calligraphy one day workshop next month. The website wasn't at all user friendly and I couldn't work out how to buy a ticket. Hopefully there will be a space for me but if not, at least I know this company run them regularly. They are based in Frome, about 9 miles away, and the workshop includes lunch, all resources and on some of them you leave with a calligraphy pen as well.

For the rest of the day I'll amuse myself with reading, playing the flute, watching TV (Dancing on Ice is back on!), and maybe playing some online games. I still feel sleepy headed so I think it will be an early night ... teaching starts again tomorrow afternoon.

Saturday, 11 January 2020


Yesterday afternoon was the time set aside for my January treat ... a belated joint birthday celebration with friend L. Her birthday is three days after mine in November and usually we try to arrange something in the days between but that didn't work out, so a belated celebration was agreed on.

We decided on afternoon tea, just the two of us because other friends were working, in these tea rooms in Bradford on Avon where the waitresses wear Victorian style long black dresses, white aprons and mop caps. 

They serve a variety of options for afternoon tea but we both chose their Queen Victoria Afternoon Tea menu which, per person, was five different finger sandwiches, a scone with jam and clotted cream, a slice of Victoria sandwich and a slice of lemon drizzle, with either a pot of tea or a filter coffee with refills.

It was delicious, but definitely too much, so they packed the rest for us to bring home. We came back to mine and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting ... and after giving our tummies a bit of a rest, were able to eat the cakes we'd brought home! It was a birthday celebration worth waiting for.

I also took a photo for the scavenger hunt  - No.12 | time for tea


The majority of the band stuff was collected last night. I finished all the important stuff and now have some odds and ends to tidy up, hopefully before I start the teaching on Monday. The three parents of the children I see on Mondays are all committee members so I can hand the remainder back to one of them. Then it'll be done and dusted.

I received the information about the library home service volunteering but don't think I will apply at present. It's a new service, not yet up and running, and the idea of how it will run is very vague so I will wait and see how it develops. The application form for this volunteering was longer and more detailed than the forms I completed to apply for teaching posts or to work in the civil service, wanting to know my entire life history including all employment history with specifics of salary received. The thought of completing that form put me off as much as anything and I thought they were asking for too much information for what is just an unpaid volunteer position. 

I don't really have much planned for the rest of this weekend but may go to the cinema to see Jumanji: The Next Level. I feel like a break from the band admin.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020


I'm taking a few days break from the blog while I finish up with all the band stuff. It's taking longer than I thought it would. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2020


Last night's choir practice was good fun. We started learning Let the River Run, Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World, and The Never Ending Story, all of which I've sung before but not these arrangements. I wasn't able to sing much as I kept coughing so I mostly listened.

I need to do some odds and ends of shopping first thing, and then once I get back home the rest of the day will be dedicated to checking for band property and moving it all to one place for them to collect later this week. 

I'm abandoning any thoughts of keeping up with the housework until all of these things leave the house as everything that has to go back will take up a lot of space. I can't pretend that I'm upset about the lack of housework! I'll just have to do it all once everything had gone.

The local library is asking for volunteers for their Home Library Service. The advert doesn't give much detail in terms of the time commitment but I will follow up and ask for more information. It may be just the thing for me. 

I don't think I have anything else to say so will love you and leave you. Back tomorrow x

Monday, 6 January 2020


Joy posted these questions on her blog yesterday and invited others to join in, so here are my answers. 

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth? Water.

2. Do you sleep naked? Yes.

3. Worst physical pain you ever been in? Probably when I had a kidney illness in my 20s or maybe the endometriosis in my 40s.

4. Favourite place you’ve ever been? Anywhere in the UK really. If I have to be more specific then for cities it will be London or Liverpool, and for anywhere else it will be Anglesey or Cornwall.

5. How late did you stay up last night? Very late, I didn't go to sleep until around 3:30 am. I am going to be tired today! 

6. If you could move somewhere else, where would you move to? Probably to the coast. Before I bought my current home I did look at moving to the Weymouth area but couldn't find a suitable property and also looked at the house prices in Anglesey. I'm settled here now though.

7. Christmas or New Year? Christmas. New Year is a difficult time and I now choose to spend it alone - it's that heartbreaking moment as the clocks chime in the New Year and everyone turns to their loved one(s) to celebrate. It's the only time I truly feel alone, just for that split second, but it's a reminder of my loss. 

8. When was the last time you cried? Writing the answer to no 7!

9. What’s the last photo on your phone? A photo and a short video of my kitchen tap to send to my nephew. The tap is leaking and he's going to sort it out for me.

10. Two of your favourite movies? This is a hard one to answer. Any of the Harry Potter films, The Greatest Showman, It's a Wonderful Life. I can't really choose!

11. What's your favourite season? If I have to choose it will be spring or autumn, but I love the changes for all four seasons throughout the year.

12.  Which famous person would you like to meet. My answer is the same as Joy's - Sandi Toksvig and Stephen Fry but I'll also add Alan Davies to the list.

13. If you could talk to ANYONE right now, who would it be? Ced. I have a few new followers so, for those who don't know, Ced was my partner and we'd been together since the 1980s. He was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in 2008 and died back in 2013.

14. Are you a good Influence? I'd like to think that I've been a good influence to any child I've taught. Generally? I don't know, it's a difficult question to answer about myself. I try to be but whether others think the same, I can't say.

15. Does pineapple belong on pizza? I rarely eat pizza (too much cheese), but wouldn't say 'no' to a pineapple topping if I was eating a slice.

16. You have the remote, what show would you be watching right now? I don't have to share the remote because I live alone! I invested in Netflix back in November 2019 so most of my time in front of the TV is to watch a film. I do try to keep up with QI, Would I Lie to You and The Repair Shop though.

17. Three people who you think will play along? Well Joy might have, but she's already done it! Maybe Bless or Mary-Lou

18. First Concert? I can't remember the details but at primary school we were all taken to see a symphony orchestra in concert. I have no idea what they played but I was hooked, probably aged 7 ish. Other early theatre trips include a family trip to a pantomime aged 9 ish, and my first experience of ballet, aged 11, to see Sleeping Beauty.

19. Favourite food? Curry!

20. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? After I got past the wanting to be a princess stage I went through wanting to be a nurse, a teacher, then a play group leader.

Please let me know in the comments if you decide to join in. Thanks.


Yesterday was another quiet day but I did spend some time photographing an assortment of music books ready for placing the adverts later in the week. That's about all I did except read, eat and watch TV.

Today, there's not that much on the to-do list. some housework, hoovering, toilets, and 2 loads of washing,  and once that's done I want to start checking through all the cupboards for anything belonging to the band. Everything will be collected on Friday/Saturday and I want to be sure that nothing is left behind. I've decided that this has gone on long enough so I won't do anything else after this last lot is collected. Anything I don't have time to complete will be passed back to the committee for their action - it's no longer my problem. I'm not sure how long it will take to get it all ready and in one place for collection but that is my priority for the week. It still counts as decluttering and will leave plenty of cupboard space I can use for my own things.

It's the first choir practice of the term tonight and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. We will have a new repertoire to learn and there will be some new members (according to the latest email). The practice starts at 7pm but I'll leave home early to call in at my nephew's house to deliver a greetings card for his birthday tomorrow  and to drop off 5 books I no longer want but which are suitable for his daughters' book collection. 

Choir finishes at 8:30 pm and I'll be going straight home and probably straight to bed for an early night. 

Sunday, 5 January 2020

5 in 5 | Quotes

I haven't done a 5 in 5 post for ages so I decided to get my act together and do one today. Well that was my intention but it all went wrong when my laptop refused to import my photos from the camera ... time to get a new card reader.

Anyway, not one to be defeated I have decided to cheat! My apologies to Sandi who organises 5 in 5 but I am using five screenshots of inspiring quotes instead, although I can't even say in my defence that I only spent five minutes searching for them! They are all to do with my focus on 'simplify' which is my one little word' for 2020.

Making Progress

It feels like my mind goes round in circles trying to uncover the real reason(s) why I am finding it so hard to part with items that I know I no longer want. It's something I keep returning to and yesterday was one such day, scrolling through the familiar reasons except ... this time something clicked.

I've read all sorts of advice on how to let go of my attachment to material things including Kondo's 'only keep items that spark joy!' but the words that clicked for me is a phrase from Graham Norton's novel (A Keeper) where one character makes a decision on what to keep from her childhood home based on the realisation that the items are 'familiar, not special or important in any way'. It's simple really isn't it, and is something that is so easy to apply to everything. I can't even say why this particular phrase resonated so strongly with me, I'm just thankful that it did.

That phrase, 'familiar, but not special or important' made all the disjointed bits of thinking tumble into place. Straight away I was able to look at the pile of books with some clarity of purpose. We have a good library in town so I don't need to have any of these books at home, I'm just used to being surrounded by books - it's familiar, but with a few exceptions I can let them go. However, I can't image a home without books and I obviously want to keep my special and important ones, that's a no brainer, so I'll also keep enough novels for a year's reading and the rest can go. All the books I choose to keep must fit in the bookcase. 

There are a number of books that are special to me (school prizes, my Bible & the hymn books), and ones that are important because I use them frequently (cooking & gardening books, local history & genealogy books) or because they support hobbies. That was quick to sort out and they are now in place in the bookcase.

That left me with about 150 books to sort through, mostly novels. The majority of these were received from my sister but some I'd bought myself. I moved them into the living room - it's more comfortable sitting on the carpet! - and spent most of yesterday afternoon sorting through them. 

I've kept 31 books to read and they are back in the bookcase. 42 books will go to Ziffit as soon as I find a box and which will add £37.77 to the coffers, and the rest will go in the book bin at the recycling yard next week. This leaves me with just Ced's books and the music theory books to deal with. They're all going once I get round to placing the adverts. As an added incentive to push on with the decluttering I will save all the money I realise from the sale of items and then use it for treats next year.

It's strange ... all the books are still in the house but because the decisions have been made I can feel the weight lifting from my shoulders. All the books are in one place and I have only kept those I use or will be able to read within a year. I think I've turned a corner and have found the right approach for me. I'll re-sort the clothes during the week and apply the same reasoning.

Saturday, 4 January 2020


It doesn't feel like a Saturday but the weekend is here so there is nothing in the way of chores to do. I didn't set the alarm so slept in until 10:30 am and have woken with a heavy head and a horrible cold. I may be feeling sorry for myself!

I had a lovely time with J yesterday and left her home, tummy full of bacon sandwiches and chocolate cake, with a jigsaw puzzle she'd already done, a book she'd borrowed and was returning, and a DVD she'd received as a Christmas gift which I am borrowing - it's series 1 of Rev

In the end I didn't get very far with sorting the books yesterday but I did manage to decide on some books for a few of the categories in the reading challenge. You're only expected to read one book per theme per month for this challenge but can obviously read more if you want. The theme for January is historical fiction and I've started reading The Witch Finder's Sister by Beth Underdown. It's a theme I seem to have plenty of novels to choose from so may also read Wild Swans by Jung Chang, and The Corset by Laura Purcell this month as well. 

Today will probably be a lot of reading and watching TV. There are a couple of new releases on Netflix I'd like to watch but as is always the way I can't remember the titles as I type this! I won't be going out as it's been raining and looks a bit drab out there so will do some form of exercise indoors. I've started back doing 10 - 15 minutes of the ones to strengthen my knees every day but will try to add something else to that, maybe some steps. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, 3 January 2020


I had an early night and slept well so I was awake before the alarm went off this morning. Worryingly, I have that scratchy feeling which heralds the arrival of a cold ... I hope I'm wrong.

I'm meeting my friend  J for lunch so will leave home earlier to go to The Shires shopping centre before we meet. I have a blouse to return and need to make a routine appointment with the optician. We haven't decided whether to go out for a meal or to just have sandwiches at J's; I don't mind which option we settle on, it will be lovely to chat with someone face to face. This will be my first social outing since the week before Christmas.

This morning I will make a start on sorting through the books. I don't know why the photos looks so murky!

This is the result of bringing all the books together in one place. Actually that's not quite true as I have left the remainder of Ced's books and some music theory books where they are as I already have the photos ready for when I place the adverts.

My priority today is to clear the ones stacked on the floor. The two piles on the right were sorted yesterday and are going to the charity shop so I just have the other two piles to decide on today. I think they are a combination of keeps (genealogy books, photography manuals, and books on Trowbridge) and ones that either have to be returned to or could be gifted to friends.

I've been giving some thought to my reading choices. The book group I used to run met my original reason for starting a book group, which was to discover new authors and genres but then drifted slightly away from that and I didn't enjoy the selections as much so reading, although I read every day, slowed down completely and I wasn't enjoying it. I read 70 books in 2018 but struggled to get through 33 in 2019. 

Most of my reading, outside of the book group choices, tends to be the books my sister passes on to me. We share the same tastes and I'm grateful for her generosity but occasionally I like to spread my reading wings and choose something different. So with that in mind I have been looking at the online reading challenges for 2020. Most are too big a commitment but this one looks interesting and very doable ...

I'll use this as a guide. The twelve books will be my own choice and will be by an author I haven't read before. That's my aim, and to keep costs down I'll be using the local library if I don't already have something appropriate in the bookcase that I've chosen myself. 

Thursday, 2 January 2020


It's day one of getting back in the routine so I set the alarm for 6:30 am and bounced out of bed when it woke me, bright, cheerful and ready to go. Actually that's a lie ... what really happened is that I hit the snooze button more than once, eventually dragged myself out of bed and into the shower and now, a couple of mugs of coffee later, I am ready to go but only if it is something easy. There may have been some grumpiness as well but I have cheered myself up now!

I'll make a start on the next meal plan today so I have plenty of time to sort out any shopping and bulk cooking requirements. I'll also look through every room and cupboard and bring all the books to the dining room ready to decide which ones to keep. I doubt I'll do the actual sorting today though because I have to do some housework so will hoover the upstairs rooms and change the bedding. At least I was organised last night and remembered to take today's meals out of the freezer so I don't have to worry about cooking ... it's tomato soup for lunch and vegetable curry for dinner. 

That's about it for today. I'm not going out so I could do more cleaning (cue sniggering! ...) or some more decluttering/organising, but I'm trying to slow down and not overdo things so what I don't do today can be done tomorrow. I'll finish the chores by lunchtime at the latest and the rest of the day will be a mixture of family tree research, reading, and maybe watching a film.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Reasons To Be Cheerful in December 2019

The final month of the year was marred by illness but I am learning that there are always reasons to be cheerful if you choose to look for them.

First, my daily joyful activities ...
  1. A surprise visit from L & P
  2. Watching a screening of Les Miserables all star staged concert 
  3. Texts from a friend
  4. Meeting S for coffee
  5. Calling round to see J and chatting for a hour
  6. Dusting off my clarinet and playing some Christmas carols
  7. Waving goodbye to the tubas and trombones that were stored in my garage. Watching Les Miserables at the cinema again!!
  8. Enjoying a jim-jam day!
  9. Having fun at the final choir practice of the term
  10. Chatting with G as she cut my hair
  11. Attending 'John Rutter's Christmas Celebration' at the Royal Albert Hall
  12. A phone call with friends before they leave on their three month tour of Australia
  13. Bumping into an ex-colleague in the supermarket and taking time out from shopping for a coffee and catch up
  14. Taking part in the choir's Christmas concert
  15. Enjoying another jim-jam day!
  16. Hot chocolate!
  17. My car passed the MOT!
  18. Watching a repeat of 'Would I Lie To You'
  19. A bowl of homemade soup
  20. A Christmas card with a letter and new address from someone I'd lost touch with
  21. Deciding on my One Little Word for 2020
  22. Feeling much better! Hooray for antibiotics.
  23. I'm ready for Christmas
  24. Jolabokaflod on Christmas Eve
  25. Phone calls and text from family and friends
  26. Listening to Chopin
  27. A short walk along the canal
  28. Booking tickets for the theatre 
  29. A  visit from my nephew and his family
  30. Clothes shopping, unsuccessful but I enjoyed myself
  31. Watching the John Wilson Orchestra on TV, playing the music from the Warner Brothers' films

Watching the Les Miserables All Star Staged Concert via a live screening at the ODEON. I loved it so much I bought a ticket to see it again five days later!


A trip to London to the Royal Albert Hall for John Rutter's Christmas Celebration concert. This could easily become an addition to my Christmas traditions.


Taking part in the community choir's Christmas concert. I'd originally intended to sit in the audience rather than sing with the others as I hadn't joined at the start of term so didn't know all the songs, but I was persuaded to take part and I'm so glad I did. Sight-reading is a good skill to have!


I couldn't make it to any of Johnny Coppin's 'All On A Winter's Night' shows this year so, as I have the CD, I had my own little folk concert at home. All cosy and warm with candlelight, hot chocolate and mince pies. Not quite like the live show but a very good alternative!


The tubas and trombones I was storing for the band have gone from my garage. I now have plenty of space to sort out my own things .... once the warmer days are back!

New Year's Day

I celebrated New Year's Eve quietly at home, watching a superb concert on TV of the John Wilson Orchestra celebrating the music of the Warner Brothers' films. I think this was a BBC Proms concert originally shown in 2018 but I missed it then so this was an extra special treat. I stayed up to watch the Graham Norton show because Tom Hanks was one of the guests and he's always fun to listen to, but was in bed and asleep before midnight. Unfortunately I was woken by phone calls and texts wishing me a happy new year and, once that had all died down (there were a lot!!), I was wide awake and couldn't get back to sleep. Next time I'll leave my phone on silent.

We're forecast to have showers throughout the day but I'm hoping to get out for a walk and maybe take some photos. It's been ages since I went out on a photo walk and is something I've missed doing. Today feels like a good day to start again!

This is the last day of my 'holiday' as I want to get back to my weekday routine, starting tomorrow. With that in mind, once I get back from my walk, I'll be watching the New Year's Day Concert live from Vienna this morning, the Sound of Music this afternoon, and The Lion King (the original animated version) this evening. A whole day of glorious music, what's not to like!! Any gaps in this schedule will be filled with food (odds and ends to be finished up), coffee breaks, and reading. It's unlikely I will stray very far from the sofa!

Then a long soak in the bath and an early night. I'll be setting the alarm for the first time in ages. I'm keen to get back to my own particular version of normal!