Monday, 31 August 2020

Staycation Day 1

It's the first day of my staycation and the forecast promises a sunny day, which is a bit suspicious for a British Bank Holiday but I'm hopeful that it at least stays dry this afternoon!

I'm not going out until this afternoon so I'll make time this morning to fit in an Italian lesson, knee strengthening exercises, and some piano practice. I'll be doing a lot of walking this afternoon so that will count as my daily exercise.

If it is a fine day the local touristy sort of places are likely to be busier than I'll be comfortable with, so Lacock (my original choice, as I hadn't realised it was the August Bank Holiday when I planned this) is best avoided today. Instead I'll go out with my camera and head for the river in Bradford on Avon to try to get some decent photos of the heron and kingfisher that can usually be seen by the bridge and afterwards will make a start on the Town Trail - I'd actually like to do it all in one go but it depends on how well my knee holds out.

This evening I think it's choir practice and then I'll be watching 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' which is premiering on ITV. I missed it when it was in the cinemas.

Sunday, 30 August 2020

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...
  • a visit from my sister who came bearing books and cooking apples!
  • a speedy resolution to the bent obelisk issue
  • phone calls with friends
  • making progress with the Italian lessons
  • taking delivery of plants and bulbs

I am grateful ...
  • for a lifestyle that allows me to take it easy and recharge the batteries when I need to
  • for prescription medications
  • for rainy days which excused me from watering duties
  • that my auntie's passing was peaceful and that her immediate family was able to be with her
  • for all the kind comments on yesterday's post

Lifestyle Changes
  • Weight: No idea, I dropped the scales and now only weigh 6ish stones (I wish 😁). 
  • Knee Strengthening (every day): N/A
  • Exercise (25 minutes every other day): N/A
I opted for a quiet week to recover from the migraine. It really knocked me back this time and I'm still lacking energy so I haven't attempted any exercises at all. The weather hasn't helped as it's been too wet to go for walks so I'm hoping that improves this week. 

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Monthly Photo Challenge | The Letter 'A'

Here are my choices for the August photo challenge - things beginning with the letter A. 

A is for apples

pointing to an A on the piano keyboard

an autograph - this is Eric Morecambe of Morecambe & Wise fame who signed twice because the pen ran out of ink

ancestors, part of Ced's family tree

the As on the die in a game of Word Yatzee

my mum's treasured apple glass

apple shaped glass paperweights

The challenge is to take photos on the set theme; the photos must be taken during the month (no archive photos), a minimum of five photos but no upper limit, and there will be a new theme every month. The theme for September is 'green'. Have fun! 

You are quite welcome to join me in this challenge if you want to ... the more the merrier! 


My auntie passed peacefully at 3 am yesterday morning, surrounded by her daughters and grandchildren.

I ventured out to post sympathy cards to my cousins and, as the postbox is over halfway to the canal,  intended to carry on for a walk but it wasn't as warm as I was expecting so I shelved that idea for another day and hurried home to my snuggle blanket!

I cooked up the apples my sister gave me and have frozen individual portions of apple sauce to have with pork, and spiced apple and sultanas to have on top of porridge or maybe on pancakes. 

Today, yet again, I have nothing arranged. I'm enjoying the relaxed way of living but am not as productive as I need/want to be, so after my staycation I think I'll look at making some changes. I'll be meeting L on Monday for coffee at the garden centre (and probably some retail therapy) and will meet up with J later in the week for a meal. I feel much less anxious about this than I thought I would, so it may be that some of the changes I make after the staycation will involve more face to face social meets with individuals or in small groups. It feels that it's time to test the water, so to speak.

So anyway, today I feel a bit down and weepy. I know the reason and it's understandable but this is one of those times when it's not easy living on my own. I'm sure to find something to do ... I just don't know what!

Friday, 28 August 2020


I was expecting the rain yesterday but the thunder and lightning came as a bit of a shock! The forecast promises more thunderstorms today so I have no plans to go out.

Yesterday was a lovely gentle day. My haircut didn't happen (at my request) so will be rescheduled but I posted the birthday card and ordered a few bits and bobs for myself online. My sister called round mid morning for a chat, bringing more books and some cooking apples with her - she didn't come in because she is avoiding contact as much as possible at present as her latest grandchild is due any day. It wasn't raining at the time so we did manage to have a socially distanced chat. In the afternoon I caught up on my phone calls with friends and the rest of my day was spent listening to music, reading, and puzzling over possessive pronouns in Italian.

I don't have anything specific planned for today. Julie found some cardboard boxes for me so I may start packing up the items I've set aside for the charity shop, then see if I can arrange a collection. I also need to book a slot for the recycling yard which is now appointment only, but I haven't been too successful getting a time so far. Apart from that it'll be more of the same - Italian lessons, reading, and music.

Thursday, 27 August 2020


In the end I didn't manage to fit in a walk or a drive out yesterday. A text pinged just after 8 am to say they were delivering a parcel to me between 9 am and 1 pm so I had to wait in. It arrived just before 1pm! - it was the replacement obelisk and thankfully in good condition.

I had lunch after that and was settling down for the round of phone calls with friends when I heard the sad news that my auntie, my mum's younger sister, is reaching the end of her life. She's in her own home and her daughters are with her and will stay with her until the end. She's 98 years old and has had a good life, but it's so sad - it's the end of an era, as she is the last remaining family member who knew my mum as a child.

Today is haircut day and I need to venture out to post a birthday card but that's all I have on today's list. We're due some more rain but not until this evening so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to spend some time outside. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2020


I'm happy to report that I am over the migraine and nosebleeds, and am feeling much better. I'll continue to take it easy for another day or two as I know from past experience just how easy it is to overdo it and trigger another bout.

The obelisk company emailed me yesterday to apologise and advise that a replacement obelisk will be sent out straight away, so I should receive it by the end of this week or the beginning of next. They've asked me to dispose of the bent one for them, rather than go to the expense of sending it back.

I placed another order for plants yesterday, some for immediate delivery, some to be despatched in September/October, and the rest for February/March next year. Once they are all received and planted I think it'll be a case of sitting back and seeing what it looks like. Some won't flower in their first year but I should still be able to get a good idea of whether changes and/or additions are needed.

It's supposed to a sunny day today so I'm hoping to get out of the house, maybe for a drive but more likely just for a walk ... anywhere is fine by me as it gives me a change of scene. Then this afternoon and early evening is set aside for phone calls with family and friends, and dotted through the day will be reading, language lessons, and piano playing ... I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, 25 August 2020


The new obelisk was delivered yesterday but was badly damaged in transit so needs to be replaced ... instead of being straight it has a 90° bend in it. I would have refused to accept it so that the carrier returned it to sender but because of the way they deliver now, he drove off as soon as I opened the door so I didn't have time to say anything. I've emailed the company I bought it from and am waiting for their response.

I had a short break booked for the end of November but they phoned yesterday to say that it is cancelled and my deposit has been refunded in full. I was expecting this as the entertainment on both evenings involved live musical shows, and to be honest a big part of me is relieved that I no longer need to make a decision about whether to go or not. That's all my planned mini holidays cancelled now but I still have my staycation to look forward to.

I did very little yesterday, just tried to eat properly, and in between meals either slept, read a book, or tried out some Italian. As to be expected, a severe migraine like the one I've just had has been followed by nosebleeds, which meant that I missed the choir practice (but I have the song sheets so can practice during the week). They're quite minor bleeds so far but if they continue tomorrow I will have to follow long standing instructions and seek medical advice. To say I'm fed up is an understatement!

Today will be more of the same - sleeping, reading, and Italian - but hopefully without the nosebleeds!

Monday, 24 August 2020

Me On Monday

Me on Monday is over the migraine and starting to feel much better. Thank you for your comments on yesterday's post which once again I didn't get round to answering. I will try to do better! 

This week will be a quiet week. The only things in the diary are choir practice tonight and a haircut on Thursday. I have the usual housework to do today and tomorrow but that's about it for the week. The forecast is for rain on most days so I should be able to avoid plant watering duties as well. 

So, what will I do with myself? Definitely some daily Italian language lessons. I'm enjoying the challenge and feel that I'm making some progress. Up to now I've just stuck to the free Duolingo app which is good as far as it goes but I've reached a stage where I want to consolidate all that I've covered so far before moving on, so this week I'd like to work through some online lessons which cover the theory side of things and a YouTube video which will help with pronunciation. I'll also do some daily piano playing.

I'm hoping to resume exercising but I still feel completely drained so that side of things will depend on how quickly I get back to normal. The rest of my time will be spent relaxing as much as possible, reading, and watching TV. I can tell I don't feel quite right as I'm debating with myself which daytime TV programmes I want to watch!

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...
  • a visit from my nephew and family ...
  • ... who sorted out the radiator shelf for me
  • a combined virtual choir practice with the Bath choir
  • starting to learn Italian and enjoying the learning process
  • plenty of rainy days so I didn't have to worry about watering the garden when I was feeling poorly!
  • hearing that the planning permission is through and the building work can start on my sister's new home
  • deliveries of plants for the garden, all arriving in good condition even if they are earlier than expected

I am grateful ...
  • for the free online resources available when learning a language
  • for prescription meds
  • for the support of family


Lifestyle Changes
  • Weight: 6lb loss, but this is down to the migraine and being unable to keep food down (sorry, too much detail) so it is not a true reflection of my weight loss. My body will sort itself out over the next week or two.
  • Knee Strengthening (every day): FAILED - migraine
  • Exercise (25 minutes every other day): FAILED - migraine

Saturday, 22 August 2020


My apologies for not replying to all of your comments yesterday. I did read them and I thank you for your well wishes.

Sadly the migraine hasn't completely gone. I can feel it lurking behind my eyes so it'll be another day of taking it easy and sleeping when I need to. I've taken all the prescription medications I am permitted to, so now need to wait for 48 hours before I can take any more, which means that sleep is probably the only thing that'll see it off. 

Friday, 21 August 2020


The timing has gone to pot! Some things are earlier than expected and some will be delayed, but three more plants arrived yesterday, one week early, so I have four of them waiting for Danielle to work her magic ... but she's not due again until September 2nd. I've texted her with the news and am waiting to hear back but I know she is very busy so it's unlikely she can fit an extra session in any earlier.

I had another migraine yesterday. The prescription meds did their job but I felt drained afterwards so didn't get much done, although in saying that, I did make significant progress with the Italian. I'm easing up on the restricted eating part of the dieting to see if that's what's triggering the migraines, but will continue to calorie count for now. If they continue to be as frequent I'll have see the doctor and get things checked out.

It does mean that today will involve as little activity as possible ... it still feels like it could go either way and I don't want to trigger another one, so a day of sleeping as much as I need to and probably very little else.

Thursday, 20 August 2020


Well the missing parcel turned up yesterday. It contained one of the new plants which, if it had arrived on Tuesday as notified, could have been planted when Danielle was here. Never mind!

I finished off all the housework and bulk cooking yesterday, then spent most of the afternoon coming up with ideas for my upcoming staycation. If it all works out the first three weeks of September will be staycation time, chosen because I can feel myself gearing up for the new school term but of course, I won't be teaching any more. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm retired! Anyway, I'm creating three lists for the staycation - ideas for rainy days, ideas for sunny days, and ideas for evenings. The long term forecast is for sunny days with only four days of rain, but this is England so I'll make sure I have plenty of ideas for whatever the weather throws at me. Most ideas will be for solo activities but there will be some opportunities to meet with friends face-to- socially distanced face as well.

Today I'll go out for a walk around the village before it gets too hot, and then fit in some piano playing before I do a session on Italian phrases. I've joined a 'Learning Italian' Facebook group, which is going to be extremely useful, and found some recommendations for YouTube videos, so I want to have a look at those today. Once that's all done I'm hoping to do some more research on my family tree. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

A New Hobby

I know I promised a garden update but there's not really anything to show. I didn't make it to the garden centre because I waited in all day for a parcel that didn't arrive, so Danielle cut the lavender back, weeded the side beds, and generally tidied up. We also discussed ideas for the front garden.

Instead I'll let you in on my new hobby. Can you guess what it is? The photo is a clue. 

No? Here's another clue.

If you guessed that I have started learning Italian you win the prize - it's a virtual box of chocolates. If you want a real box you'll have to provide it yourself because I'm not going into shops at present!

Learning a new language is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I already speak French so, as Italy is a country I'd love to visit one day, Italian seemed to be the obvious choice. 

Learning a new language offers scope for fulfillment in so many ways. A big issue for me is that I don't have enough to occupy and stretch my brain. I keep myself busy but am very aware that I'm not really stretching myself, except maybe in piano. I'd given serious consideration to doing an A level but, although that is something I may do in the future, it's not the right thing for now. Learning Italian will definitely exercise the brain cells!

It also offers the chance of expanding my social horizons as well. There are plenty of language groups in this area offering conversation over coffee or a meal, and also groups for complete beginners - all possibilities for the future but not something I'd feel comfortable about doing just yet (mainly because of the virus, but also because I don't know any useful sentences yet πŸ˜‚). In addition there are free internet resources offering conversational Italian at all levels so I will register for a beginner's one to practice with another person or in a small group. I also looked into language holidays/exchanges for adults, which I wouldn't consider at present but is an option for the future. 

I've ordered a text book and have started using the Duolingo app for about 15 minutes a day. The cards in the first photos are homemade flashcards of the words in the first lesson that I'm trying to learn, and the notebook is to test myself by writing things down - I stand a chance of retaining the information if I do that!

Tuesday, 18 August 2020


I thought I'd killed it but apparently not. The peace lily is rallying and has two new flowers.

I managed to get most of the housework done yesterday and will finish off the bathrooms tomorrow. Today is set aside for a quick trip to the garden centre, then some bulk cooking and, if there's time, finishing off a couple of tasks I started at the weekend until Danielle turns up this afternoon.

I'll go to the garden centre first thing and should be able to pick up some of the bulbs and plants on my list. I keep telling myself that I don't need to get it all this year (I'm ignoring my own advice though, so hopefully will be able to get everything 😊). There's an outside chance that some of the plants I ordered online will turn up today as well. If I do end up without any of the new plants I'll ask Danielle to carry on clearing the right hand side of the garden which hasn't been touched yet. I'll do a garden update post tomorrow. 

Monday, 17 August 2020

Me On Monday

Me on Monday is looking forward to the week ahead. I have lots to fit in this week ...

... cooking for the freezer following the supermarket delivery yesterday. I'm not trying any new recipes this time, I just want to top up the portions of curry, chilli, bolognese sauce, and savoury mince. I'll also prepare a couple of dump bags as well - I've never used these before but am keen to try and see if they work for me. I also need to cook up some more mini meals to eat when I am recovering from a migraine.

... practicing the piano and tenor horn. I'm trying to arrange my days so that I have time to play both instruments every day.

... organising appointments with the doctor, optician and solicitor, and attempting to get times slots for the recycling yard and a charity shop collection.

... cleaning the downstairs today, upstairs tomorrow and bathrooms on Wednesday. I did all the laundry over the weekend so have the last of the ironing to finish off as well.

... washing the car, although getting this done depends on the weather. The forecast is for rain most days, so this may have to wait.

... sorting out some photos of Ced for Miss C. She's upset that she can't really remember what he looked like (she was only four when he died). I have some photos of the two of them together so I'll let her have copies of them.

... hoping some of the plants arrive before Danielle turns up tomorrow. I'm going to The Nursery in Hilperton tomorrow morning to check out the bulbs and hopefully pick up a few more plants so there will definitely be something for her to do.

... looking out some things to put on the radiator shelf. It took my nephew less than five minutes to sort the shelf out yesterday so it's in place and I can put things on it now ... that's another thing ticked off the list!

... ordering some material and elastic to make myself some face masks. I bought one but it doesn't fit as well as it I'd like so I'll experiment with a few of the different designs I found when watching Facebook videos.

... dodging the rain to get out for some fresh air every day and hopefully take some photos.

... booking tickets for a jolly, probably either to a museum or to Salisbury Cathedral. I think it needs to be somewhere indoors this time.

... shopping online for photo frames. I'm not entirely sure what I want so need to see what's available. I keep starting this and then giving up, so this time I will definitely make a decision and place an order!

I can feel it's going to be a good week. I hope it is for all of you too.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...
  • a very cheap resolution to the car problem
  • chatting with friends
  • seeing Joy and R 
  • learning a new song at choir ... "The Complete History of Western Classical Music (Abridged) 
  • driving my car again, even though it was just to town
  • finally ordering some of the plants for the back garden
  • receiving notification of a Wayleave payment

I am grateful ...
  • for friends with the skills to maintain cars!
  • for cooling showers
  • for prescription meds!


Lifestyle Changes
  • Weight: 1lb (and my weight now starts with a lower number 😊)
  • Knee Strengthening (every day): ACHIEVED
  • Exercise (2 days x 15 mins, 1 rest day): ACHIEVED, but half-heartedly. I struggled with the heat at the start of the week and also don't like the pattern so will return to exercising every other day but increase the number of minutes each session.

Saturday, 15 August 2020


We're due more rain today. After getting drenched yesterday I'm now fed up with it and want the sun back, just not as hot this time please!

I have a feeling it will be a fairly easy day today. Thanks to the weather I haven't slept too well over this past week so I'm tired and have a migraine threatening. I'm hoping a lazy day with a few naps and some prescription meds will soon solve that.

I volunteered to take part in a Bath Uni psychology department study to do with mindfulness. If I meet all the criteria for the project I will be asked to fill out a couple of questionnaires, watch a video, and practice mindfulness for ten minutes every day for two weeks - I don't know if participants choose their own approach to mindfulness but I think it's more likely that it is decided by the organiser. I've received the initial document so will complete and return that today, then wait to see if I am lucky enough to be selected. I hope so because the commitment to two weeks of practicing mindfulness will be a big step towards making it a regular habit. 

The only other thing I need to do is check and confirm the online supermarket delivery, due tomorrow. Once that's done I can do whatever I feel like, probably a mix of reading, watching films, and sleeping!

Friday, 14 August 2020


My car is sorted, all for only £20! Because the diagnostic machine had highlighted a problem with the tyre they took it to the tyre centre they always use, but when their friend looked at it he couldn't find anything wrong with the sensor. He eventually found a nail in the tyre so extracted it and repaired the hole and ... sorted the problem. Even though we'd all checked, none of us had spotted the nail, which was almost invisible and buried right down in the tread. The stop light and annoying beep are no more and all is well again. £20 is a bargain price considering they collected the car from here, spent time investigating, took it to and from the tyre centre, and then brought it back here. We had a chat about whether it's time to change cars and they've recommended a couple of places to go to and have a look. If I see something I like, they will check it over for me. There's no hurry, given the current situation, so I can take my time deciding what to do.

Yesterday's post brought the documents to sign for the Wayleave payment I'm entitled to. I will get the cheque (£150) in the next few weeks, so that will go towards the costs of the new pots. I'd already ordered some more plants yesterday before the post arrived but, now I have the car back and some extra pennies, I can get to the nearest garden centre to look at their selection of bulbs, pots and perennials. That's probably a Monday job though.

The radiator shelf arrived but it needs to be adjusted which involves 'just' bending the metal brackets and that's beyond me. I tried and failed, so I will wait on my nephew to sort it out. It needs to be someone who can come into my home as he'll need to fit it on the radiator to work out the angle of adjustment.

I want to get out for a drive round today. It's rather dull and we're promised more rain but I'll take my camera with me ... just in case!

Thursday, 13 August 2020


We'll start with the bad news. Well it's more disappointing than bad - the company has confirmed that the fruit trees, nut bush and blueberries will be an October - December delivery. This means that planting up the centre flower bed moves to the front of the line and the happy news is that I ordered some of the plants yesterday - quite a lot of what I want won't be available until the spring but we can at least make a start. The plants will be here within the next two weeks, hopefully. I can also go to a garden centre to see if they have any of the perennials that are on my list, ready for next Tuesday. I'm deliberately avoiding telling you the plant names and will do a garden update post when they are planted!

There is happy news on the car as well. It seems the problem is to do with a sensor on one of the tyres so they are getting that sorted for me and I will, hopefully, get the car back today. They have other work booked in so it depends on how long that takes, but I'm happy to wait.

The other bit of happy news is that I'll be seeing Joy and R today. It's only a flying visit and we won't really have time for a chat but it'll be lovely to see them and is very much the highlight of my day!

I'm expecting delivery of the radiator shelf this afternoon, which I hope to be able to assemble myself. I'll be fine as long as it has pre-drilled holes but if it doesn't I'm hoping my neighbour will help out. If it all works out I can get that little area of the room finished and ticked off the list. As I have to stay in today I'll continue checking my 'When I've Gone' folder and make sure that's all up to date, and I must remember to phone the surgery to make an appointment for the flu jab, and to request a telephone consultation with my doctor. 

Once the 'When I've Gone' folder is done I will only have three things left on the huge to-do list I started a few years ago. The garden is one of those but the work has started so it could be ticked off really. 

The decluttering needs to be finished off. It's currently on hold because of my anxiety about going to the post office to post any items I manage to sell, but I am starting to feel more relaxed about the idea. The sub post office in the next village tends to be quite quiet at times so I should be able to time my visits carefully to get items posted out to the buyers. It'll be so good to finally get this ticked off the list so I will start advertising some more things and see how it goes.

The final thing is to clear out the garage, so a slightly different decluttering task as the weight of some of the items means that I'd be asking buyers to collect and I don't feel ready to do that yet. It stays on the list for now.

The photos were taken last night using my phone. I liked the light in the clouds!

Wednesday, 12 August 2020


Danielle arrived as promised yesterday and completed all the prep work so I've ordered the fruit trees, blueberries and cobnut bush. On the website it says that if the item is available for order on the site it means it is in stock and will be despatched within 3 to 5 days, which means that it should be delivered in time to be planted up next Tuesday. However, the actual order acknowledgement states that delivery will be between October and December, which is not so good. I've tried phoning but their answer machine is full and I can't leave a message so I have emailed for clarification. In the meantime I have order the tree stakes, irrigation things, and ericaceous compost and will sit back and see what happens.

I'm still waiting for the car to be sorted but some progress has been made. The Renault garage are saying that they cannot collect the vehicle or send a mechanic to check it on the drive because of Covid 19, so I contacted T and D, friends of Ced, who always maintained my car before I bought this one. They are coming as soon as they've finished the job they're doing, hopefully later this morning but definitely today, and will either work on it here or tow it back to their garage ... it all depends on what's gone wrong. It's in hand anyway.

One thing that's going well is the sewing of name tags. I usually do it all in one go but there is so much this time, I'm doing it in short sessions instead - the new senior school uniform is black, so it's a bit tiring on the eyes!

I enjoyed long catch ups with friends last night. Julie phoned and we've caught up with all the news. She has some boxes for me to pack stuff ready for the charity shop so once I get them I can get it all packed up and, when the car is sorted, can arrange to drop it off. I also had a long chat with J, and separately with L. The good news is that all is well in friend and family land!

Today I want to order the things I need to complete odd jobs around the house. The toilet seat broke just before lockdown so that's well overdue for being replaced, and I want to fit a shelf on the larger of the radiators in the living room. I need some more picture hangers for canvas prints, and have dropped and broken my new oil mister so need to replace that ... again! I should have bought a spare like someone suggested.

Now the pictures are up in the living room it's spurred me on to sort the hall and landing, so some time this week I'll review the current pictures and see if I have enough and also whether I want to keep them. I'd like to have some of my own photos up so, if I decide to take that route, I need to order frames and mounts and order the prints - I can only print to A4 but some will need to be larger so will have to look round for a reasonable price.

As for the rest of today, I have nothing arranged. I'm hoping to speak to my sister, but apart from that I can just potter through the day and do whatever takes my fancy.  I hope you all have a good day.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Garden Update No 6

Danielle will be here today to clear the gravel and start preparing the ground where the mini orchard is going. This is an extra visit as she normally comes once a fortnight, but I should see a huge chunk of the preparation work for the September planting date done in today's two hour session. 

I think the climbing rose heard us discussing when to cut it back as it's covered in buds again, so it's got a reprieve ... for now. There's no hurry to get this done anyway, so it may be put back to next spring.

I need to decide on the bulbs and also when to focus on sorting out all the pots but I think they are discussions that can wait until the planting is completed in September. For now, I'm just excited that work is starting on the first stage.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Me On Monday

Me on Monday is feeling rather lethargic after a hot and lazy weekend.

I had a visit from my nephew and his family on Saturday so that Miss C could show me the stationery I bought her for when she goes to senior school in September, and they also brought the new uniforms round for me to sew on the name tags ... that's my job for today. There's more than usual to do because there is a complete new uniform for Miss C. My nephew brought his toolbox with him and all the pictures in the living room are hanging on the walls, and there's been a bit of a rearranging of furniture so the room now looks and feels more homely. 

We were supposed to meet up in the garden, correctly socially distanced and all that, but it was just too hot and, as the girls are both fair skinned, we sat in the cool of the living room. They are the first of family or friends to be indoors since lockdown started so I suppose they now count as my 'bubble', but it's not something I intend to do too often. At the moment I want my home to continue to be my 'safe space'. It seems so odd that inviting family into my home has become such a big deal and serves to show how much, and how quickly, life has changed.

Sunday was even hotter than Saturday so I didn't get much done. Most of the day was spent with my nose in a book, the fan on full blast, and a regular supply of cooling drinks. Today we're promised a thunderstorm, which hopefully will clear the air ... something needs to give!

As for today, it's sorting out the car first, then housework (dusting and floors + bathrooms if I have time), then knee exercises, piano practice, walking (but indoors if it's raining), and then I'll make a start on the name tags. I also need to spend some time in the garden, deadheading and watering if there's no rain, but I will leave that until the heat goes out of the day this evening after choir practice.

The Zoom choir practices are continuing, thankfully. From the preliminary results of the tests it seems unlikely that in-person practices will be allowed to resume any time soon, so the Zoom option is better that stopping completely. It's the same for brass and woodwind instruments so, for now, I have abandoned the idea of joining an adult band or amateur orchestra and will continue to focus on other things.

This month's mini project is to update my will, ensure my 'when I've gone' folder is up to date and is easy for someone else to follow, and to start the process of completing a living will and appointing a power of attorney. I've asked my nephew and wife if they will consider taking this on so am awaiting their response ... I sprung it on them on Saturday and asked them to think about it.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...
  • agreeing a date for the first stage of planting in the back garden
  • laughing out loud at repeats of Would I Lie To You?
  • phone calls with friends
  • my sister asking if I want some more books 😁
  • homemade pineapple sorbet!
  • walks along the canal towpath
  • hearing that a friend has found a buyer for her house so the move back to Trowbridge is getting closer
  • knowing that I am ready for the next stage of my life even though it can't be the travel experience I'd been planning for. I have other dreams and the pandemic doesn't stop me realising them 
  • rainbows
  • a visit from my nephew and family so Miss C could show me the stationery I bought for her transfer to senior school, and ...
  • ... my nephew could hang all the pictures in the living room which didn't get done before lockdown

I am grateful ...
  • for friends who are generous with their time
  • for the life I have
  • for the glorious sunrises and sunsets which mark the beginning and end of each day


Lifestyle Changes

It's been a good week despite the car problems. I've been doing a lot of thinking and have reached a decision on what I want to do next, now that I have finished with band and teaching. I have some ideas, which I won't bore you with yet, so I need to do some research and see which idea is the one (or two) to take forward. 
  • Weight: I stayed the same but think I know why. One of the things I'm trying to do is reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. I was getting on well and joined a Facebook group that offered support on that very issue but it proved to be a mistake for me. I was doing fine on my own and wasn't missing the sugar but after joining the group, every time I looked at Facebook there were constant reminders about it and within a few days I was craving the stuff and started making sweet snacks. So, I have left the group and will go it alone. Next week should be better!
  • Knee Strengthening (every day): ACHIEVED
  • Exercise (2 days x 15 mins, 1 rest day): ACHIEVED

Saturday, 8 August 2020

A Quiet Saturday

It's a quick post today, just to check in. I don't have anything interesting to say so will say nothing!

I won't be going out today so will keep myself out of mischief with reading, piano playing, family tree research, and probably watch a couple of films tonight.

I hope you all have a good day.

Friday, 7 August 2020

SPSH 2nd Link up

It's time to for the 2nd SPSH link up so I am sharing the photos I took during July. 

No 2 | Something with or in a knot

No 8 | a leaf longer than your hand

No 11 | something you need to throw away

No 13 | a rubber band/elastic in use

No 16 | something with rough texture

Alt A | an animal statue

My previous photos can be seen in this post.

I have 8 more to find: 

No 1. A favourite piece of jewelry
No 5. Something you have more than one of
No 10. Something smaller than a paper clip
No 12. Something that holds your favourite beverage
No 14. Something with wheels
No 18. Something that can go in the water
No 19. A stone/rock/pebble with some colour in it
Alt B. Something heavier than your shoe

Many thanks to Mary-Lou for organising the hunt. 

One of Those Days!

Yesterday was one of those days!

Things went wrong very early on with potentially expensive car problems, which I still haven't managed to sort out yet. The 'stop' warning light came on as I started to move off the drive, so I can't drive anywhere now until I get it sorted. I tried to book it in at the usual garage but they have staff shortages so it could be weeks before they can fit me in. They're phoning back today with a date so if it's not acceptable, I'll have to find somewhere else.

I did a couple of loads of washing but that turned out to be a bit of a disaster as well! Black sock in with the whites resulted in most of it turning different shades of grey. I rewashed it with whitener added, so some of it has been saved but most of the undies, and especially the bras, will have to be replaced. It's not quite as bad as it seems as I've nearly lost enough weight to drop down to the next size so I'll wait to lose the last little bit before replacing them.

The knock on effect of the car problems is that I'll have to put some things on hold. I'd arranged to meet M and R for a socially distanced chat in their garden so have had to postpone - they don't drive so can't come here instead - and other plans for local trips will have to wait until I am mobile again. I'm more frustrated than disappointed, but until I get the car sorted there's not a lot I can do!

Then to cap it all, I have been switched over to the new Blogger format so what should be an easy blog post isn't! Not will it let me add any photos to this post! 

Today looks much more promising though. A couple of days ago I was mumbling that my sister hadn't passed on any books for ages and that I was running out of things to read.  My sister doesn't read this blog and I hadn't said anything to her, but this morning she texted to ask if I wanted any books so the bookcase will soon be refilled ... which has cheered me up.

I don't have any firm plans for today except to get the car booked in somewhere. Anything else I achieve will be a bonus!

Thursday, 6 August 2020

5 in 5 | Walking to the Canal

I'm joining in with Sandie's 5 in 5 monthly link up. 

This is how the monthly challenge works:

1. Choose a location
2. Have your camera ready
3. Set a mobile timer for 5 minutes
4. Take as many photos as you can until the time is up
5. Choose 5 of those photos to share via the link on Sandie's blog on the 5th of the month

I'm continuing from last month's 5 in 5 when I showed you the local marina but this time I am showing the walk from my home to the canal, which takes just over five minutes.

The first photo is taken right outside my front door, so I start with a very short walk along the road to the junction beyond the two parked cars. 

At the junction I turn right and head towards The Slipway, which is the road off to the left by the first lamp post.

Once I turn into The Slipway I head towards the house you can see peeping between the trees on the left of the photo ...

... where there is a pathway through to the canal. The pathways leading to the marina are either side of the house I stood in front of to take this photo.

So a few paces along the pathway and I have arrived at the canal. The building houses the Marina Office, Boat Hire and Chandlery, and the boatyard (not photographed) is just to the right.

If I follow the towpath to the left I will be heading towards Semington locks and eventually up to the Caen Hill flight of locks. If I go to the right I will be heading towards Trowbridge and on to Bradford on Avon and eventually to Bath. The canal obviously goes much farther in each direction but the places I've mentioned are the extent of my own walking over the years.

Many thanks to Sandie for organising the monthly link up.