Monday, 31 May 2021

Monthly Photo Challenge - Red

The theme for the May challenge was the colour red. 

red pencil crayons

the red properties on a Monopoly board, with red hotels

red gloves

picture on the wall in my playroom

pencil sharpener, red pencils and pencil shavings

lamp on top of the piano, a gift from Ced

red apples

ladybirds


(very scratched) red logo button on one of my camera cases

bookmark

selection of toys featuring the colour red

red tape measure

Post Office van, conveniently posing for a photo outside my home!


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 June is 'beginning with D' and I'll post a linky at the end of the month  Have fun! 

Thanks to everyone who has taken part in the May challenge. Here's the linky  .... please link to your challenge post, not just to your blog. 



This Week ...

Today it's the Spring Bank Holiday Monday which means it's the half term holiday so I'm expecting it to be busier out and about while the children off school. I'm planning a couple of trips out but will avoid the more popular places for now.

Social: it's choir practice tonight as usual. I'll be chatting with J and with L at some stage during the week but I think it's unlikely that we'll be able to meet in person ... still, long chats on the phone are just as good.


Online Classes and Talks

Today: Photography, History in Music

Wednesday: Nutrition Club

Thursday: Indian Cooking 

Friday: Nutrition Focus  


Health and Fitness:

I'm hoping to complete 30 minutes of walking every day, still in 10 minutes slots.


Home and Garden

Home: I did most of the housework yesterday so will finish off today by washing the hard floors and wiping down the kitchen cupboards. My main focus for the rest of the week will be to clear the music room, starting with the instrumental books I used for teaching. 

Garden: I'd like to finish off moving the last of the gravel to the front garden as once that's cleared I can measure up for the new (huge) water butt for the back garden. The bulk bag of topsoil is still on the drive and I'd like to move that out of the way. It's still half full, so too heavy for me to move (I did try!), so I may bag some of it until it's light enough to drag the bulk bag into the garage. 


Food: I'll be cooking up foods to portion out for the freezer, aiming to do one or two recipes every day. All the ingredients are here so there's no need for food shopping this week. I'll start on the vegetarian choices today, a veggie chilli and a shepherdess pie, to use up some of the fresh veg.  


End of Lockdown Adventures

  • take some photos for the SPSH this week
  • two trips to National Trust properties by the end of June
  • attempt some bird photography


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: I need to choose my next book. I feel like reading a detective story but not sure if there is anything suitable in the bookcase.

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice 

Piano: 30 minutes daily practice

Sunday, 30 May 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • watching 'Cook Clever Waste Less' on catch up TV and picking up some interesting suggestions for planning meals and using up leftovers
  • loving all the growth in the garden
  • enjoying breakfast on the patio on the first warm, dry day for ages
  • gaining a workable solution to the racking I want in the garage, thanks to my neighbour
  • continuing to enjoy all of the online classes
  • making good progress on the family tree
  • laughing through a Zoom meet with friends on Saturday evening
  • getting out of the house for a couple of shopping trips
  • getting to know my new cousin via a Zoom conversation
  • loving my new blanket, kindly knitted by my sister
  • enjoying the Great British Photography Challenge on TV
  • seeing the list of prompts for the 2021 Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt

I am grateful ...
  • for the knowledge that I am surrounded by caring and supportive family and friends
  • prescription medication and a GP who listens to my concerns
  • the sensible precautions that so many people are taking to ensure safety of themselves and others as we move through the gradual removal of lockdown restrictions

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise (30 minutes minimum every day): achieved 
  • weight: no change, which to be honest is better than I expected!

End of Lockdown Adventures
  • In the next 7 days: take photos around town for my monthly photo challenge. Achieved, sort of - I went to BoA but didn't find any suitable subjects for the photos.

  • In the next month (up to the end of May): some shopping trips. Achieved - one garden centre trip, one food shopping trip and one trip to town to spend assorted gift tokens.

  • In the next 12 monthsattempt some bird photography. No progress yet

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Saturday & A Garden Update

I wasn't at all sleepy last night so ended up downstairs watching a film in the early hours of the morning, eventually getting back to bed at about 5 o'clock. The knock on to that was sleeping in until 10 o'clock this morning and waking with that sort of thick head that you get with lack of sleep, but breakfast outside in a sheltered spot on the patio soon sorted that out. 


It's much warmer today with a bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds and despite a later start, it's turning out to be a lovely gentle day just pottering about as I fancy. It's the Bank Holiday weekend so I had no plans to go out anyway and so far it's actually a more productive day than I'd expected. The bed sheets are in the washing machine as I write this, there is a chilli bubbling away in the slow cooker and a bolognese sauce cooked earlier has cooled enough to be portioned out and frozen.  

I've moved a few of the patio pots again. It looked good from the house but not so good from the bench where I like to sit outside, so I've moved some of the smaller pots that contain the annuals and I like how it looks now from both ends of the garden. The pots of fruit and veggies are against the back wall of the house where it's warmer and is in sunshine for the longer part of the day. The mangetout and the chilli pepper look very happy but the beans and the tomatoes aren't doing as well. One tomato has gone completely - I actually saw it happen; there is one feral cat that occasionally ventures into the garden and it tried to climb up on the pot, presumably to scratch in the soil, but the pot overbalanced and emptied out most of it's content - this was a curved sided pot (imagine the bottom half of a sphere but wider than taller so very unstable) and as soon as the cat put its weight on the side of the pot it upset the balance and it tipped right over, snapping the stem. The cat shot off so hopefully it unnerved him enough to keep him away for a while!

I surveyed my estate and took some more photos 😀. Does anyone recognise the plant in the first photo please? I don't recognise it at all and it's the only one, so far, that I can't remember planting.

Edited to say it's Scilla siberica Alba and I did buy it when I bought all the alliums.

The allium (below) is nectaroscordum siculum and these will put in the middle level of colour in the centre bed. Before it started to open I thought the first two plants to grow were the other two pretty white and pink ones but it looks like only one out of the three of those planted has grown. It's disappointing if that's the case but I will just buy extra for next year!

M brought me some sedum from her own garden and that has taken well. It's been planted in two places and both are doing their job, spreading to give some ground cover.

Both clematis have been in bud for a while but there's no sign of them flowering yet. 

The white rose is in bud, but nothing happening on the rambler as yet.

And both of the dianthus 'memories' are in flower and looking good!


I had a lovely long chat with my neighbour, S, just catching up with our news and putting the world to rights as you do. Out of our conversation I have his brilliant suggestion for a cheap and practical solution for the racking I want in the garage. It's going to be a bespoke slatted wooden construction using the timber seconds sold in Wickes to keep the cost down. I'll end up with racking that is more than strong enough for my needs and it's something I can ask my friendly handyman to make for me. First thing is to ask my nephew to draw up the design and work out how much wood I need and then I have to buy the timber - it's the sort of thing you need to buy when you see it in store so it may take a while to get enough but doing it this way means that it will be a third of the cost of the full price. The timber is the planed pine that's used to construct internal stud walls but is classed as seconds because it isn't completely straight so can't be sold as perfect. S said I'll have to be selective and pick out the better lengths but it'll be ideal for my needs. 

I'll have a look next week to see what's available but am in no hurry to get it all done as this will give me time to dispose of the rest of the stuff in the garage. There's two big items to go to the recycling yard so I will ask one of my nephews to help out with that and once we agree a date I can book a slot for that. There's also the stuff I'm hoping to sell to the reclamation yard so I need to chase them up, and then there is quite a bit of other stuff to sort through. I think that can all be my June/July project. 

Later this afternoon I'm going to catch up on a few of the TV programmes I've missed and this evening I've been invited to a Zoom meet with friends so it won't be the early night I'd like, but you only live once!

Friday, 28 May 2021

Friday


It's raining again! I may not be loving it but the garden definitely is. The allium I photographed yesterday now looks like this ...

and the knautia macedonica is gearing itself up for its summer display. 


Don't worry, I promise I won't photograph every single change as they get ready to flower!

It's the Nutrition focus online class next, where the focus will be on inflammation so I don't want to miss that. Afterwards I have a couple of emails to deal with and then ... I don't know. I doubt I'll go out but feel the need to do something different to fill my time though as I write this I have no idea what that 'something different' will be!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Thursday

I had the blood tests first thing so once the results have arrived I will get an appointment to see the doctor. The pain and swelling has disappeared but I still want to follow it through and find out exactly what the problem is.

I came home via Bradford on Avon (a rather long detour) but wasn't successful in finding any suitable photos for my monthly photo challenge, so after a bit of a walk around I came back home. As soon as I put my camera away I thought of all the photos I could have taken if I'd just walked across the bridge, the reason I'd chosen this town in the first place, but ... never mind!

I tuned in to the Indian Cookery online class, as much for the tips as for the recipe and cooking demo. Today's recipe was South Indian King Prawn Thokku which I'll try with some fish pieces at the weekend as I don't have any prawns here. It looked lovely, so I'll cook it for my Saturday night treat as an alternative to having a takeaway.

I had a look around the garden to see how the alliums are doing. There are four different varieties and they are all in bud, so it won't be too long now. The varieties in the first two photos will take a bit longer but the ones in the other two photos are starting to flower.

This last photo is the star of the show. The bulbs were expensive so I could only afford three of them last year but will get some more this year as they are so pretty. I'll photograph it again when it is fully open.

I enjoyed the Zoom call with my cousin last night and will repeat it at some stage if she wants to ... she's a bit of a technophobe so may prefer to just talk on the phone though. Tonight I'll catch up on The Great British Sewing Bee and then take myself off to bed to read for a while before settling down for the night.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Wednesday

I spent this morning listening to the Nutrition Club online and doing a bit more tidying in the garden.

The Nutrition Club focused on suggestions for non-perishable foods to keep in your larder so you always have the basics in stock to make a meal if you can't get to the shops for any reason - stock levels obviously depend on how long each item can be kept. This is one aspect of life that I have sorted out so I won't be making any changes but was pleased that, with one exception, I already keep a stock of the suggested foodstuffs. The suggested list, is dried and canned pulses, nut butters, dehydrated or canned fruit and veg, canned or bottled fish, nuts and seeds, grains, herbs and spices, non dairy milks, and oils. The one exception is the inclusion of rice cakes on the list, which I don't eat so won't be making any changes in that respect. Although it was mentioned briefly, this session didn't cover the basics that could be kept in a freezer. I rely on my freezer a lot but I think I have things under control so I'm not too worried.

It was dry this morning so I spent about an hour tidying up the newly planted patio pots. This mostly involved removing the sticky labels, which I'd forgotten to do before M was here. I haven't finished yet but it was a bit too cold to stay out there for long - there's no sun to speak of today but it wouldn't reach the back of the house until later anyway. I'll finish it off tomorrow and sweep the patio again, and that'll be it for now. 

I fitted in a flying visit to the supermarket as I was out of bread. Of course, I forgot my shopping list so bought everything I could remember but now I'm home and have checked, I have forgotten some essentials so another trip is needed. That'll be a task for tomorrow. I'm planning to be out and about to take some photos so will call in for the rest of the shopping on the way home.

Tonight is the Zoom meeting with my cousin which I'm really looking forward to and if it goes well and we have plenty to chat about, I'll have to miss tonight's episode of The Great British Sewing Bee. I can watch it on iPlayer tomorrow instead so it's not a problem.

Bless asked for a photo of my new blanket, so here it is. My sister chose the pattern when she decided to knit the blanket rather than crochet it so I wasn't sure what to expect, except I knew she was keeping the rippled edging that I wanted. I do love it. It still has to be washed but it's huge so I'll have to work out how I'm going to get it dry. 

Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Tuesday

Today almost didn't happen! I got up as usual but was back in bed within the hour and slept for most of the morning. It was just the usual migraine but the prescriptions meds worked and I'm back downstairs, though still feeling fragile. This means the food shopping is postponed until tomorrow, housework is off the radar for now, and I am snuggled up under a blanket on the sofa keeping myself occupied with a mix of reading and afternoon TV. 

I had a long chat with my sister at lunchtime to thank her for knitting a blanket for me - her husband dropped it round last night. It's the cream wool I bought to attempt crocheting but gave up (too painful on the hands!) and sent it round for my sister to do. She's knitted a huge blanket for me and the leftover wool will be used to make something for Baby R. We chatted about garden problems, not that I have any, but she has found some slime mould (Nostoc) in her garden. She's been researching the most effective way to get rid of it and was rather worried about one option, which she has no intention of mentioning as there's no doubt it's the option her husband and sons will choose, which is to use a flamethrower. All the other options are too tame for them, so I'll offer her the use of my spare bedroom when they burn the place down! 

Last night I watched the first of a new series on BBC4/iPlayer, The Great British Photography Challenge. It's similar to Sky Art's Master of Photography which I watched and enjoyed though the British one is more of a master class and there are some good tips to pick up. Chris Packham was involved in the first episode and he demonstrated using a mirror in his wildlife photography which I will definitely be trying out.

I ordered two T-shirts which arrived yesterday. I like both of them but they are a bit baggy on me so I measured myself again.  I knew I'd lost some weight, and it is noticeable in my face, but was delighted to discover that I've lost 2 inches from my waist and 1.5 inches from both bust and hips! 😀😀 

Monday, 24 May 2021

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt 2021

Mary-Lou has announced the 2021 Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt list over on her blog.  I've copied her post below:


There's no way better to celebrate Victoria Day long weekend; Ontario's kick off to summer than to welcome you to the 2021 Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt (SPSH) - the  easing, but not gone  pandemic restrictions edition.  


Keeping in mind that some of us may still be in a form of lockdown, or that some of us could be returning to lockdown or some of us are free to roam about.  There are some searches for at home, close to home or away from home.  I hope some items encourage you to think creatively & some that may require an open eye to find.   Find some, find all, hope you join in for the fun of the search.

Only two simple rules;  please use photos taken between June 1st & September 30th of 2021 & that you or a loved one have taken the photo, other than that, it's meant for fun.

As with previous years, if you would like to be connected with others participating, please leave me a comment & on the link in days, I'll post that connection list.  

And thank you to to Eileen & Lady Ella for some of the suggestions.

First check in/link up will be Wednesday June 30th.


2021 SPSH  List

 

  1. A Breakfast of Champions
  2. Favourite Time of Day
  3. Something To Represent Home But Not The Building
  4. Head In The Clouds; shapes or interesting patterns
  5. The Art Of The Fold
  6. Something That Makes You Laugh or Happy
  7. What's In Bloom
  8. Window Views
  9. Something Older Than You
  10. The Delivery Van/Truck Making The Deliveries
  11. The Shape of Round/Circular
  12. Something That Is Cause For Celebration
  13. Your Marie Kondo Moment – Or Not
  14. Inside Your Fridge Or Cupboard
  15. Your Best Doodle Art (not public graffiti)
  16. A Guilty Pleasure; Something That Recharges You
  17. An Exit
  18. Upside Down, Right Side Up
  19. Steps, But Who's Counting
  20. Decades Of Sharing; find something in your home that is from the 70's or80's or 90's or 00's


ALTERNATES

A: show off your  COVID safety; masks, cleaning, or other related supplies

B: a local landmark

C: the most beautiful landscape photo of the season


This Week ...

After a quiet weekend I'm hoping for a livelier week. We're forecast sunny days from Tuesday so I'd like to spend a lot more time out of the house meeting with friends and family and generally just enjoying myself. I don't have any specific plans for that so will take it one day at a time.

Social: it's choir practice tonight and we're now counting down to our first in person full choir session (assuming easing of lockdown continues on schedule). This will be an outdoor socially distanced workshop in July, followed by the resumption of normal weekly session at the end of August. Part of me is excited about this and part of me is over anxious, but I don't have sufficient information on the specific Covid related safety arrangements for these events so am unable to make an informed decision on how safe I personally will feel about joining in. I'm assuming I will take part as I'm sure M (choir director) will put effective safety arrangements in place, and more importantly, will enforce them.


Online Classes and Talks

Today: Photography, History in Music

Wednesday: Nutrition Club

Thursday: Indian Cooking 

Friday: Nutrition Focus  


Health and Fitness:

I have blood tests scheduled for this week but the appointment hasn't been confirmed via text as it usually is, so will need to check on that.

It'll depend on pain levels but I'm hoping to achieve 30 minutes of walking every day, still in 10 minutes slots.


Home and Garden

Home: There's just the usual household chores to do this week. Tweaking my routine is working well as I get the daily list of chores completed and out of the way first thing.

Garden: I want to rearrange some of the newly planted pots and just generally tidy up. Some of the garden furniture can go back in the garage (ready to be sold) once I've moved things around in there. Mostly I want to sit on my bench with a mug of coffee and just be me! 


Food: I will go shopping either today or tomorrow to buy the ingredients for some bulk cooking. I want to get back to having a good selection of portioned meals in the freezer so will put the effort in this week. 


End of Lockdown Adventures

  • take some 'red' photos around town for my monthly photo challenge 
  • two shopping trips, one for food and one to the fabric shop(s)
  • attempt some bird photography over at the canal or in the park 


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: I'm reading the latest e-books in the Surviving the Evacuation series by Frank Tayell. I think I've had my fill of zombie stories but I want to know what happens to some of my favourite characters so will keep reading until the series is complete.

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice 

Piano: 30 minutes daily practice

Family Tree: I'm meeting with my new cousin via Zoom to go through the branch of the family tree where we connect. I haven't finished researching this but have got back to the 1640s so there is plenty of information to share with her. 

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • enjoying a car picnic (even if it did rain and thunder!)
  • appreciating the opportunity to visit shops in person, and 
  • the pleasure of choosing what to spend my Christmas and birthday tokens on (I chose books and a jigsaw puzzle)
  • getting all the plants out in the garden
  • enjoying time outside of the house
  • welcoming a taste of normality - conversations with shop assistants and friendly greetings from strangers
  • taking the car for a long drive and seeing some different scenery
  • making progress on the family tree
  • enjoying a Eurovision Song Contest evening with friends, complete with an Indian takeaway

I am grateful ...
  • for M's efforts in the garden on a cold, wet and windy day
  • for central heating! 
  • for the NHS

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise (30 minutes minimum every day): achieved 
  • weight: 1 lb loss

End of Lockdown Adventures
  • In the next 7 days: walk along the canal to photograph the lambs in the field but if it's too wet then a drive out and a car picnic. Achieved - no luck with the lambs but I did go for a drive and a car picnic.

  • In the next month (up to the end of May): some shopping trips. On track to complete by the end of the month, see here

  • In the next 12 monthsattempt some bird photography. No progress on this one yet.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Saturday

I'm pleased to report that my foot is feeling much better today. The pain has reduced, it's not as swollen or as hot to the touch, and walking is easier. I will still keep the GP appointment though, even if it clears up completely.

It rained during the night but we've had almost non stop sunshine so far today, with just a halfhearted attempt to rain about an hour or so ago. I decided to leave the pots where they are for now until I can sweep the patio. It was very muddy when I looked out first thing but it's drying out nicely and I should be able to sweep the worst of it up later this afternoon. All I've done so far is collect up the unused pots, baskets and canes and move them into the garage, and taken the bird feeders down and put them away (for now) as well. There are too many cats around so I don't want to encourage birds to the garden but any ideas on deterring the cats will be appreciated!

I've been working on my family tree this morning and am making some progress in sorting out the elusive ancestor. I still need to do some piano practice and also my daily 15 minutes of Italian, but that's about it for today. It's the Eurovision Song Contest tonight which I'll be watching with friends - we're all staying in our own homes but will do a WhatsApp video call so we can all chat to each other. I need to print out a score sheet before it starts - I wonder what the voting will be like from the EU countries now the UK have left? I think I will also treat myself to an Indian takeaway to make a bit more of the evening ... the others are bound to be treating themselves and I don't want to be left out!

Friday, 21 May 2021

Friday

It's rained steadily for most of the day. I was half expecting M to reschedule, and I wouldn't have blamed her if she did, but she turned up smiling and ready to get started. By the time she left the roses, angel's fishing rods, and sweet peas had all been planted in the flower beds, and twenty six containers had been filled with the assortment of vegetables and annuals. Everything has been planted out now and will have to take it's chance with the temperatures but hopefully most will survive and will do well. The newly filled pots are lined up along the back of the house so all I need to do is move them to where I want them on the patio, which I'll do tomorrow and then photograph everything ready for a garden update post. 

The Nutrition Focus was about rebooting energy levels. The first thing is to observe your energy levels throughout the day and see if there is a pattern. For example, do you always feel tired when you wake (suggests sleep issues), or do you have a slump early afternoon (suggests that you need to make changes to what you're eating for lunch), as so on. The resolution may not be entirely nutrition related but nutrition can play a part. I'll let you know how I get on.

My foot is still swollen but not as painful today, thankfully. I have to go into the surgery because, as I thought, it can't be diagnosed with any confidence during a telephone consultation. That will be interesting as I can't get my shoe on at present!

The rest of the day so far has been rather quiet. I'm trying to make sense of one particular ancestor on my family tree who appears in numerous other people's family trees and without exception they all identify a different person as his father. None of them agree on this point and the person I have identified as the father just adds another name to the list of potential subjects for the role. In the end I was getting myself confused with all the different possibilities so have put it to one side and will come back to it tomorrow. 

There's nothing I fancy watching on TV tonight so will either read or listen to some music ... it'll be a something relaxing anyway, as tomorrow I want to rearrange the pots and also make a start on sorting the garage.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Thursday

What has happened to the weather? Yesterday it was warm enough to go without a coat and today I can't get myself warm and the heating is on again!

It's been a quiet day of self-imposed idleness as a response to hurting my foot when I was in town yesterday. It wasn't too bad yesterday but has got progressively worse and today the big toe on my right foot is swollen and painful - I'm wondering whether I have broken it again. Walking is difficult, not helped by the problems with my left knee, so I'm resting as much as I can until I speak to my doctor tomorrow. I have a telephone consultation (booked for something else) so will be able to get some advice although I think it is likely he will need to see me in person for this - at least he will make the appointment if that proves to be the case.    

The most energetic thing I've done was to walk outside to talk to Joy while we watched her hubby collect the remainder of their possessions from my garage. Apart from that I have completely abandoned all thoughts of housework but have kept myself occupied answering some emails, drooling over the Lakeland catalogue but resisting temptation, answering a few blog comments and completing my daily Italian lesson. I still need to do some piano practice so will do that once I finish this post.

I tuned into the Indian Cookery class where today's recipe was an Indian breakfast, masala porridge. I'm not sure I'd want to have this for a breakfast but thought it would work well for a brunch or lunch for me - I'll try it one day next week as it's another way of adding oats to my diet but as the recipe asks for vegetables, it will have to wait until I have been shopping again. Monica also demonstrated Anda Bhurji (spicy scrambled eggs) which she serves as a side dish to the masala porridge so I will try that recipe as well. 

There's nothing of interest on the TV tonight so I will tune into 'An Evening With Henry', a new offering from the organisation that provides the online classes. This is the first of a series of talks by Henry Blofeld ("Blowers"), the former cricket commentator. I've seen his one man show in the past and he was both funny and interesting, so I'm hoping for the same from these talks. I'll probably curl up with a book afterwards and aim for another early night.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Wednesday

A blue sky and fluffy white clouds greeted me when I opened the curtains this morning, exactly what the forecast promised but this is the UK and you can never be entirely sure! It was a different start to the day as computer things were moved to later in the day, so after a leisurely breakfast of dippy egg and toast soldiers I started clearing today's list of chores - sweep kitchen/dining room/hall floors, water indoor plants, prep veg for tonight's meal, and make a start on wiping down the kitchen cupboards. 

There wasn't anything too time consuming as I wanted to be finished in time for the Nutrition Club online session at 10 am where the focus was on foods that can help reset your mood. It's an interesting subject which I studied in depth after my first major bout of depression so there was no new information but good to be reminded all the same.  

Once that was finished and one quick change of clothes later, I was ready to venture out into the big wide world ... that's what it felt like anyway! I was more anxious than I was expecting to be but knew that if I didn't leave the house it would only be a bigger problem to overcome the next time I tried. My first stop was the garage to check the tire pressure and refill the tank, then a short drive into town. It's market day so I was expecting it to be busy but the car park was almost empty and there weren't that many people around at all.

First stop was the bank to get some pound coins to top up the egg money box, then into the Shires Shopping Centre to spend my Christmas and birthday tokens in Waterstones. Just my luck that one of the books I wanted to get was out of stock but I did pick up the other one -  A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier - and got the second paperback, The Dinner Guest by B P Walter, for half price as part of their buy 1, get 1 half price offer. I've already read The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse but wanted to have my own copy as it's a book I will read again and the jigsaw puzzle will be put away for the winter.

  

I did a bit of window shopping and then headed round to the fabric shop but it was busy in there, so I decided it can wait until next week. Lunchtime isn't the best time to be shopping now that people are returning to work so I'll time it better next time. 

So, on to B&Q to pick a selection of bigger pots ... and just a few more plants that I didn't really need but ... 😊😊


I had my camera with me and was planning to photograph some lambs but, best laid plans and all that! The lambs weren't in the field where I'd seen them before and I drove round to the other likely spots but couldn't see any sheep, or cows, or horses, so I gave up on that idea and switched to Plan B. I bought a meal deal from Tesco, went for a long drive and found a pleasant spot to have my car picnic instead of my photography fix. Of course the weather didn't play nicely and while I was eating my lunch the heavens opened and it rained hard, accompanied by a couple of claps of thunder, so quite a typical car picnic in the end. Just to rub it in, as I drove home the sun came out again! Back at home I checked the clock and I'd been out of the house for almost four hours, so pretty good going considering how anxious I was when I started out.  

It's been dry since I got home so I've had a bit of a play around with the new pots to decide where I want to place them on the patio, but for now they are stacked up and wedged in the corner by the gate in the hope that their combined weight will stop them blowing around - the wind is picking up and I don't fancy an evening of empty pots banging against the French doors! Piano and Italian practices are done for the day, and it'll soon be time to start the evening meal - a lamb curry to celebrate my day out of the house. This evening it's The Repair Shop followed by The Great British Sewing Bee, so the evening TV viewing is sorted, and then I think it'll be an early night. 

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Tuesday

I only took one week out for a staycation and I seem to have lost the plot! I was busy-ish for most of yesterday but can't honestly say what I did ... lots of things started and nothing finished so I'm feeling a bit frustrated as all I achieved was to create extra work for myself. Today is all about clearing up yesterday's mess!

I think the issue is the delay in getting myself started on the morning's chores. This is partly because of the time spend updating my blog, reading others, commenting, etc., and the time spent on dealing with emails, some of which can take up a big chunk of time. I've been doing both of these first thing but am going to move them round to see if it will improve how the day pans out for me; blogging stuff will move to the evening and emails/admin will fit in after I've finished the rest of the daily chores - I'll start this from tomorrow so don't worry when there isn't an early morning post.

Another plant turned up yesterday and that definitely it for new plants for this year ... I think! I can't remember what it's called but this is one with winter berries to provide some interest during the colder months and it's destined for one of the bigger pots on the patio. It's outside waiting for M so I'll find it's name ready for the next garden update post

There's nothing else in the diary for today so I'd like to get out for a walk later this morning. I should be finished with the tidying up by 10 o'clock so will have time to grab some fresh air before the promised thunderstorm that's heading our way for the afternoon. I'm looking forward to the walk but not looking forward to the thunderstorm!

I'm slowly working my way though my Ancestry DNA matches and will carry on with that this afternoon. It's proving to be an interesting exercise. Of the ones I've looked at so far, the majority are linked to my maternal grandmother's line which is the one I've done the most research on, but I have identified 2nd cousins on my maternal grandfather's line and on my paternal grandmother's line so I am hoping to contact some more cousins once I've done a bit more research. I tend to lose track of time when I'm working on the family tree so whether anything else gets done during the afternoon and evening is anybody's guess!

Monday, 17 May 2021

This Week ...

Normal life is resumed after last week's daily treats to remember Ced. I don't have a particular highlight of the week to look forward to this week so I am aiming to stay positive and make the most of every day. The weather forecast for the week isn't too promising with rain due on six out of the seven days so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they have it right about the one dry day they've promised!

Social: it's choir practice tonight and our newest song is 'Get The Party Started' by Pink. 


Online Classes and Talks

Today: Photography

Wednesday: Nutrition Club, Happiness Hub

Thursday: Indian Cooking 

Friday: Nutrition Focus  


Exercise:

Walking: I'm back to walking around the house, currently three times a day for ten minutes each time. At the moment it feels like enough as my left knee is now permanently swollen but actually holding up well in terms of the pain. 


Home and Garden

Home: I need to do some housework after not doing any last week. I did most of the washing over the weekend so will change my bed sheets today and hoover throughout the house, then bathrooms  tomorrow and kitchen on Thursday. The last bit of the spring cleaning can wait until next week.

Garden: M is due on Friday but I'm half expecting her to reschedule if the weather is as bad as forecasted. There are lots of plants awaiting her attention, some waiting outside and there's still the trolley full in the dining room. I was hoping that she'd be able to plant up most, if not all, of the ones on the trolley as some are outgrowing their baby pots but I have a feeling she may advise to wait a while longer.


Food: I haven't really planned my meals for this week so it will be pot luck. The recipe from last week's Indian Cookery class was a channa masala which I'd like to try, so will soak the chickpeas today and that can be tomorrow's meal. I'll need to do some food shopping this week so whatever I buy will determine what I eat! 


End of Lockdown Adventures: I mentioned last week about Joy's bucket list idea. I'm pinching her idea to focus on activities that make me leave the house and spent time outdoors, either on my own or with other people, and I'm starting this week. I did mention the first things on my list in a previous post but have changed my mind and my list now looks like this ...

  • In the next 7 days: walk along the canal to photograph the lambs in the field but if it's too wet then a drive out and a car picnic
  • In the next month (up to the end of May): some shopping trips. The first one for food shopping and to spend the last of my Christmas and birthday tokens. The other trips will be to look for fabric - there are a couple of fabric shops in town which I'll try first, but there also used to be one in Bradford on Avon and a couple in Warminster, so I'd like to see if they are still trading.
  • In the next 12 monthsattempt some bird photography either in Calne (mandarin ducks), BoA (kingfisher), Corsham (peacocks), or Trowbridge cemetery (all sorts)


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: I'm reading 'Three Hours' by Rosamund Lupton

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice 

Piano: 30 minutes daily practice

Family Tree: emails are flying back and forth between my new cousin and myself, which is great and I am helping her identify where she fits into the family tree. This week I want to spend some time trying to identify which branch of the family each of my other DNA matches fits into, and then start the laborious job of working out how we are actually related ... there are over 500 who are listed as being 4th cousin or closer but it's unlikely I will be able to identify the entire list as so many of them haven't created a searchable tree.