In the garden ...
Thursday, 23 September 2021
Wednesday, 22 September 2021
There was a slight change of plans yesterday which meant that I met with L at the local garden centre instead of at the farm café. I'm pleased to report that, despite all of the temptation everywhere I looked, I didn't buy any more plants! I did buy this though ...
... a savoury tea of cheese scone, cheese and chutney (I left the butter), a mug of coffee, and if you look carefully you may see the tip of a huge slice of lemon and blueberry drizzle cake to finish it all off. L had a cream tea with fruit scone, jam, clotted cream and a pot of tea. It was delicious and I have no regrets about all those extra calories!
I have quite a busy day today with the nutrition club at 10am, piano lesson at 12.15am, and the style class at 2pm. I'm expecting delivery of a parcel some time today, and as a priority I need to arrange an appointment with my GP as I still haven't had my last lot of routine blood tests. I didn't make any progress on finding someone to value the two collections so will keep looking today if I have time, but will also contact the place in Bath who I know do valuations to make an appointment.
If the parcel delivery arrives early enough I'm hoping to meet up with T & N, neighbours at my previous home who've now moved away. They're only in town until about 4 pm and have plans to meet up with a lot of people (which I'm a bit anxious about) but I do hope it all works out and I get to see them.
Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Let's do the garden update first. Actually it's more a 'thinking out loud' post to do with the plans for next year. Once the new fence is in place (still waiting on price and date) the priority will be to deal with any damage to the existing planting and move other plants around where necessary. It all depends on when the fencing work is done, but at the latest this planting/moving will be done in early spring. Then the focus for the year is switching to the pots, which take on a big role in my ideas for the garden.
The main focus will be on this area. I rarely show it in photos as it hasn't had the attention it needs, but 2022 is its time to shine!
Monday, 20 September 2021
In the garden ...
... there's still a good variety of plants in flower but some of the annuals are nearing the end. The dwarf sunflower plants, while starting to look quite tatty, are still producing lots of bright yellow loveliness, while the marguerites continue to flower prolifically ... both have made the list for next years annuals. The fuchsias continue to delight with their bright colours and are loved by the bees; I was trying to photograph the bees but missed completely in the first fuchsia photo and only captured the ends of the wings in the second one!
It was a quiet weekend and I'm aiming for a reasonably relaxed week. We're promised sunny days all week so, at the time of writing this, I am hoping to be out every day to meet up with either family or friends. I already have a couple of things arranged - I'm going round to Joy's home this morning and will be meeting L for a late lunch tomorrow in Winsley. I have texted to arrange an after school visit to see C & H to meet their new kittens, and a visit to see Baby R, but am waiting to hear back on those.
We're rapidly approaching the end of September which means that I need to get on and find the rest of my photos for the SPSH and my monthly photo challenge. I'm thinking of driving to different locations for my daily walks to see if I can finish off both of the photo lists this week.
I downloaded a new book to my Kindle yesterday - 'Annie Stanley, All At Sea' by Sue Teddern. I don't usually pay too much for books but this one is currently only available in hardback at a price I wasn't prepared to pay so although the Kindle version wasn't much better it's a similar price to what I'd pay for paperbacks, so I treated myself. This book is the one to be discussed by the online book group on October 1st, so I have plenty of time to read it. The story appeals to me anyway, but the thing that pushed me into deciding to join this particular class is that on October 22nd there is also a 'meet the author' session with Sue Teddern, and I find those interesting.
It's the style class this afternoon but it'll be finished early enough to fit in a bit of shopping before the schools finish for the day and the shops get busy. Lidl is the closest supermarket so I can pop in quickly to pick up some bread, fruit, and veg. I've decided it's time to do some bulk cooking for the freezer ... soup weather is definitely here!
Sunday, 19 September 2021
Reasons to be cheerful ...
- chatting with family and friends
- delighted that the new spring bulbs have arrived, ready for M's next visit
- a surprise purchase of three new perennials for growing in pots
- meeting J for coffee ... and buying some cyclamen plants!
- time spent enjoying the garden
- feeling that I'm making progress on the piano
- completing one stage of the decluttering by sorting out the remainder of the items to be donated, and
- agreeing sales on some more items
- adding some dates to the diary ... always good to have something to look forward to
- answering some of the questions on Only Connect!
- seeing the photos from my niece's recent wedding
- continuing to make progress on the family tree
- seeing the Red Arrows fly overhead (last time this year, apparently)
- for M's hard work in the garden
- for friends who support me in my dreams for the future and chip in with great ideas
- that online clubs and entertainment opportunities are continuing post lockdown
- 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved
- 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved
- weight: no change
Saturday, 18 September 2021
M was here yesterday and we had quite a long chat about next year's planting. I won't reveal the plans in any detail now, except to say that we both agreed that there isn't room in any of the flower beds for new plants, except the ones that have already been agreed on but can't be ordered until next year. There is some scope for perennials in pots but we both thought it would be better to wait until next year for those. So, M planted up the cyclamen, scared the weeds into submission and went on her way. Twenty minutes later I started getting texts from her ... she'd called in at a garden centre on her way home ... and about half an hour later she was back in my garden to plant up my newly purchased perennials. She is such a bad influence on me!
|Echinacea Southern Belle|
|Penstemon Plum Jerkum|
As a result of the second unplanned visit by M I missed most of the nutrition focus on brain health but it will be repeated at some stage so I'll have an opportunity to catch up.
It turned out to be a lovely day and was warm enough to sit out in the garden, so I fought the strange urge I had to do some housework and spent the rest of the afternoon outside in the sunshine. I read for a while, but mostly just sat and enjoyed being outside.
Today I'm looking forward to a quiet day and won't be venturing too far from home ... just over to the marina and back for my morning walk. There's nothing I want to watch on TV but I may rent a film for this evening's viewing and hopefully, if the promised rain holds off, I can spend the afternoon in the garden again.
Friday, 17 September 2021
In the garden ...
... the roses are taking the limelight!
M will be here this morning, mostly weeding and general tidying but the cyclamen have to be planted and there are a couple of pots of annuals to be emptied as well.
This afternoon it's the nutrition focus class, all about brain health today which I'm sure will be interesting but, from the brief chat about it last time, will not be covering the one topic that affects me which is migraines (now classed as a brain disorder). I'll still take part in the class because I continue to be fascinated by just how much you can heal your body through nutrition alone.
And that's all there is in the diary for today. I'm now used to doing my daily Italian practice right after breakfast and that works well for me, but I haven't yet settled on the best time for the piano practice. The practice needs to become a habit so, as with the Italian, I'm tacking it on to an existing daily activity and am currently trialling early evening right after my evening meal to see how that goes. This isn't anything to do with a need to be regimented in the timing of these activities but is all about creating habits by hanging the completion of whatever activity needs to become a habit onto an existing habit, and mealtimes fit the bill for the existing habits!
Thursday, 16 September 2021
In the garden ...
... cyclamen, destined for the central flower bed. I met J at a garden centre yesterday and gave into temptation!
Wednesday's new schedule makes much better use of my time - the nutrition club starts at 10am, piano follows on at 11:15am, then a break for lunch, and the style class at 2pm, which leaves me free from 3pm onwards. The gap for lunch is just about long enough if I want to meet L or to pop to the shops, and any time after 3pm works well to meet with J so a pleasant way to round off the afternoon.
The nutrition club was to do with meal planning. Claudia produced a week long vegan meal plan with shopping list and recipes with the aim of showing people how you can still eat healthily without cooking every day. It was interesting and I will try some of the recipes but I'm quite happy to cook fresh every day if I need to. I tend to bulk cook more in the colder months and cook from scratch every day during the warmer months.
My piano lesson was good fun. I surprised myself by playing much better than I had in practice so have decided that knowing someone is listening and critiquing my playing is actually focusing my mind in a good way! I'm carrying on with the two longer pieces this week and have free choice on a third, shorter piece.
The style class was about body shape. There is plenty of information on the internet but this link, provided by Patio Postcards, is a good starting point - Body Shape Calculator. The challenge for this week is to determine your body shape and then look at yourself in a mirror and decide which parts of your body you want to draw attention to and which parts of your body you want to draw attention away from.
I met J for coffee and a quick catch up but won't see her now for a couple of weeks as she's working next week and then will isolate the following week before we meet in person again. It was so good to see her though, and hopefully we can manage a longer chat next time.
It's the Indian cookery this afternoon ... Lamb Kofta Biryani this week, which I'll definitely be making for my Saturday night treat. I'd like to fit in some shopping this morning as I need a few bits and pieces from Home Bargains or B&M, and I need to get to the bank for the cash for M tomorrow. Apart from that it'll be time spent on the laptop places as many adverts as I can.
Wednesday, 15 September 2021
In the end I decided against driving to Bath yesterday. It was wet and dismal and I just felt really chilled, so the thought of a day at home in the warm won out. After a morning of feeling sorry for myself I pulled myself together and got on with the decluttering ... one more item has been paid for so that's been packed and will be sent off today and I filled another box with donations for H. She will collect the three boxes I have ready for her tonight on her way home. I think I'm now just left with the items to sell so that's what I'll focus on for the rest of this week.
Today is going to be an online day! My piano lessons have changed to Wednesdays at C's request but it actually suits me better as it means that my Tuesdays now remain free of any online classes. Once the style class is completed my Mondays will be free as well which makes it easier to arrange to meet up with friends etc. The piano lesson is slotted in between the nutrition club and the style class, and then I've arranged to meet up with J for a coffee in the garden centre café nearest her home.
I can't think of anything else so will end by saying that I hope you all have a good day whatever you have planned.
Tuesday, 14 September 2021
In the garden ...
It took me ages to get going yesterday but in the end it was a productive day from a decluttering point of view, even if I didn't manage to fit in another adventure. Five out of the seven buyers had paid so I packed up those items and took them to the local post office. I forgot that a lot of pensions are paid out on a Monday morning so it took ages - I waited in the car park until the queue cleared - and they've all been sent now. I'm hoping the remaining two will pay today so I can get those two packages out of the way as well.
H phoned to ask if I will let her have all of the items I'm setting aside for a charity shop donation as she will be selling at car boot sales nearer Christmas to raise money for the local hospice. I'm happy to do that so I spent a good part of yesterday morning looking for all the bits and pieces I can donate - two boxes so far but there's probably more to find. H will collect the boxes towards the end of the week, so that'll be another load of stuff to leave the house; interestingly most of my late partner's stuff has now gone and I'm now sorting through my own things, finding quite a lot that I no longer wish to keep.
The rest of the morning was taken up with Tesco's customer service as I hadn't received the refund for the order they cancelled on Sept 4th. I tried to phone but with no real luck but surprisingly an email received an immediate response, an apology, and an assurance that the money will be refunded straight away which in banking terms means between 3 and 5 days. I'll be keeping an eye on my bank account to make sure the money arrives as promised.
The style coach session was about cultivating confidence in yourself and in your personal style, and focused on dealing with the negative self talk that lots of people seem to do. I won't repeat the session here as it's pretty much covered in this article and there is plenty of information and suggestions on the internet if you are interested in reading more about the subject. Next session, or it may be next week, we move on to body types/shapes.
Today, the only thing in my diary is my second choice for the Heritage Open Days, this one is a visit to see Eyre Chantry Chapel in Bath. I'm aiming to get there at 10am when it opens as parking spaces are difficult to find in that part of the city but there are a couple of spaces right by the chapel so I'm hoping to get in there. Depending on the weather I may go down into the city afterwards for a wander round Sydney Gardens or the Royal Victoria Park, but it is forecast to rain so if it does pour down I'll be quite happy with just seeing the chapel and then coming home to the warm and dry! This was originally going to clash with my piano lesson but at C's request I've changed to have lessons on a Wednesday.
I'll continue with the decluttering when I get home.
Monday, 13 September 2021
I had a great weekend with two more things ticked of the 'adventures' list and seven items sold. I'm waiting for confirmation of payments and will get the parcels ready to be posted off, hopefully today or tomorrow.
On Saturday morning I was one of the first to arrive at the church for the Heritage Open Day event so I had one of the guides all to myself. I don't know if this was a good or a bad thing as he wasn't at all interested in the history of the church and kept bringing the conversation back to the plans to use the building as a community centre of music and the arts. However, he was able to answer one of my questions which was to tell me the location of the one thing I wanted to see and my reason for choosing this church. It's this ... does anyone know what it is?
... not one of my better photos, but you get the idea! I didn't stay long as one couple had an aggressive dog with them which was on a lead but they were only just in control of it, and I didn't feel comfortable. It's not the couple in the photo - their dog was a real sweetie. It doesn't look it in the photo but it was actually quite busy there. I think I was lucky when I took the photo but by the time I'd walked back over the bridge and down the slope to the towpath a group of walkers had overtaken me as well as people drifting across from the car park. I got to see it though, so I'm happy with that.
Sunday, 12 September 2021
Reasons to be cheerful ...
- chatting with family and friends
- receiving videos from the Mum of two sister I used to teach to play flute and clarinet, so I could see their progress
- selling some more things, and especially agreeing the sale of the saxophone
- meeting with L for coffee
- loving my first piano lesson with C
- attending one of the Heritage Open Days and seeing around St Mary's Church in Devizes, and as I walked back to my car ...
- ... bumping into LS who I haven't seen for years - we first met years ago when we played in the same band for a while and a couple of her children were in the Youth Band
- visiting Caen Hill locks - I didn't stay for long because there was an aggressive dog barely under the control of its owners but I did get to see the locks again ... I've spent lots of happy times there!
- for the support of family and friends
- to be secure financially and to have the funds to achieve a lifelong dream ... learning to play the piano
- to have received my annual flu vaccination
- 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved
- 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved
I'm not giving up on the Tai Chi but my knee still isn't stable enough, so for now it's on the back burner and I have increased the walking instead.
- weight: no idea, I need to replace the battery in the scales! It doesn't feel like I've lost or gained though.
Saturday, 11 September 2021
Yesterday was a very successful day on the decluttering front. With no effort on my part I have sold the alto saxophone; G, my hairdresser was relating the story of the doll's house sale to another of her friends and mentioned that, as a joke, I'd asked her to find a buyer for a saxophone. It turns out her friend was interested and has agreed to buy the saxophone, accessories and music books for the full asking price ... I've asked G to find a buyer for the clarinet next as she's obviously very good with her sales pitch! 😂
I've now taken photos of everything else I want to sell and will continue posting the adverts for the general items and some of the specialist engineering things over the next few days. I'll have to ask my nephew and/or one of Ced's engineering friends for help with the description on a few of the items as I don't have a clue. I'll place the adverts for the other instruments and the items more suitable for Christmas gifts next week. I'm still getting enquiries for the cash on collection items that haven't sold yet and the next group of eBay auctions finish tomorrow ... all of those have bids so have definitely sold.
I'm out and about today. I'll leave home early enough to fill up with petrol and then present myself at the doctor's surgery for my flu jab at 8:45 am, and then a drive over to Devizes for the first of the Heritage Open Day events I've chosen for this year, which is a look around St Mary's Church. It's the online choir at noon but there are a couple of other things I'd also like to do in or near Devizes so I may give that a miss and have a day out if the weather is kind.
Friday, 10 September 2021
In the garden ...
... there are always raindrops to enjoy on a rainy day!
I failed miserably with my decluttering plans for yesterday because the piano was calling my name, but on the plus side I did make good progress on the piano pieces I've chosen for this week! I did remember to watch the Indian cooking demo. This week it was butter chicken which is usually too rich for me but she showed us how to make a dairy free alternative by making a cashew paste to replace the cream, so I will test the recipe out once I have all the ingredients.
This morning has to be some housework, renew my car tax, and get those adverts placed and, if it is sunny as promised this afternoon, I'm hoping to meet L for a walk and a chat.
Thursday, 9 September 2021
Well, I paid the price for the lemon drizzle cake and the scones and the jam and the brownie and ... you get the idea! I've been avoiding added sugars in my diet for well over a year so my body did not respond well to the amount of sugar in the afternoon tea treats and I definitely didn't feel 100% yesterday. It was worth it though! I'm absolutely fine today 😊
The nutrition club was about eye health but it was more to do with conditions like glaucoma and age related macular degeneration, so very interesting but thankfully information that I have no need of.
The style class continued with visualising your own style and we looked at photos of various women to decide the overall aesthetic, the style elements and the style tweaks of their outfits. The aesthetic relates back to style personalities and is the 'look' as a whole. The elements are the finer details such as the use of colour, layers, textures, patterns, accessories, etc,. and the tweaks are to do with what the wearer has done to the clothes they are wearing, so collars turned up, jumper draped around shoulder, shirt untucked, and so on. As an exercise it was interesting but for me, it's the tweaks that lose me with styling and I'm not particularly interested in spending time on it ... which makes the new challenge rather difficult for me - we have to be open and experimental and look at the items in our own wardrobe to create a 'new look'. From the way she was talking I think she's imaging us all having a much greater choice than my reality which is that I don't have five different jackets to choose from or a seemingly endless supply of shirts and blouses! I know that sounds like negativity on my part and I could try with what I have but ... I've decided that I won't do this particular challenge. I will definitely continue with the class and glean what information I can from it with the aim of creating a wardrobe filled with items I can mix and match, that suit my body shape and lifestyle, and which I feel comfortable wearing.
It's supposed to rain today and for the next five days, so a few at home days spending time on some more of the decluttering; placing some adverts and make a start on getting the stuff ready for a trip to the recycling yard. The Indian cookery class recipe is butter chicken which I'm not that fond of but I'll watch the demo anyway, just to pick up any tips.
Wednesday, 8 September 2021
In the garden ...
After a stressful early morning with intermittent internet access, more off than on, my first piano lesson went ahead yesterday as planned and .... I loved it! There were no problems at all with the software she uses (so I was fretting unnecessarily about that), the internet played nicely so I didn't lose the signal, and I felt completely at ease. C is used to teaching adult learners, though I am currently her only learner who can already read music, and the whole lesson was very relaxed. After an initial chat I played through the three pieces I'd been practicing and surprised myself by playing with no mistakes, which only goes to show that there's a first time for everything as I hadn't managed to do that during practice! We chatted about what I want to achieve in the long term and I mentioned a couple of pieces I'd like to be able to play properly as my first target - the Harry Potter theme and Pachelbel's Canon in D major - both simplified versions and which I've sort of played before but there is much room for improvement! She's quite happy with that and suggested a list of pieces for me to choose from for next week, so my practice is two short pieces, one longer piece and an exercise based on broken chords. I'll be able to work out the notes easily enough and the rhythm isn't an issue, so my focus is to be on improving the dynamic range (within the limitations of my digital piano) and the articulation.
I met with H yesterday afternoon and passed a pleasant couple of hours sitting in her garden, drinking homemade elderflower juice and enjoying a delicious afternoon tea complete with lemon drizzle cake ... I have a suspicion that I won't lose any weight this week but life has to be lived and enjoyed doesn't it. 😊
Today, it's the nutrition class this morning and the style class this afternoon so I think it'll be a stay at home day. It's supposed to rain this afternoon so I'm hoping to get out for a walk around the marina in the gap between breakfast and the start of the nutrition class. I have a few admin type tasks to fit in during the day - place more adverts, forward some free downloaded sheet music to C, and there's a couple of bits of mail to process but once that's done and the classes are finished I have a quiet rest of the day to look forward to.
Tuesday, 7 September 2021
In the garden ...
... the top photo gives a better idea of the creamy colour of the new rose, which will gradually fade to white. The red rose is flowering again, and the hibiscus is providing some colour on the other side of the garden.
Yesterday's style class was about visualising your style and thinking about the aesthetics you'd like to move towards. The session was taken up with ways of creating vision boards and choosing the method that works for you. It boils down to a choice of a scrapbook, a pin board, or a digital pin board and most of the session was taken up with a demo of how Pinterest works. The challenge for this week is to start your own wish list using whichever method you prefer. I initially thought I wouldn't bother but I have been looking at various ideas, info on body shapes, colour analysis, etc., so have amassed a lot of links in my reading list and Pinterest offers a better way of organising them so I may start creating a wish list and see how I get on. I've used the site in the past so I know it can also be a massive time waster and I seem to remember there was some issue about copyright and liability which is the reason I stopped using it, but ... it would help with this and also with filing my ever growing collection of recipes, so I may have another go.
I went for an early evening walk around town aiming to take some of the photos I need for the SPSH and my monthly challenge. It turned out to be quite a successful trip but obviously I can't show the photos yet.
The highlight of today is obviously the first piano lesson with C. I've done my practice so feel reasonably confident that I won't make a complete fool of myself the first time she 'meets' me! It's an online session so that'll be something else to get used to but taking everything into account, I'm really excited and am looking forward to it. I'll report back on how it goes tomorrow!
That's at 10:30 am and once it's finished I have a couple of parcels to sent. One is to return the red pots that should have been blue - it seems to be too difficult to swap them for the blue pots I ordered so am returning them at their expense for a full refund. The other one is to the Vintage Cash Cow company to see what they will offer me for the contents, which is an assortment of vintage 'stuff'. I've dealt with this company before and was pleased with the price they offered me that time so am hopeful for an equally good deal this time. If I don't want to accept the offer they will return the items to me at their cost, and as they paid for the postage for me to send the parcel to them in the first place, I won't be out of pocket.
This afternoon I have a few bits of shopping to do in the retail park on the far side of town so afterwards will carry on and spend the rest of the afternoon either visiting H (still waiting to hear if she'll be in) or have a look around Edington Priory.