Saturday, 31 July 2021

Saturday

Apologies for the lack of garden photos today but it was too wet and windy to take any yesterday. It was also rather chilly and I spent a good part of my day snuggled on the sofa with a warm blanket and mugs of hot coffee.

M was here for a couple of hours, weeding all the beds and pots and generally tidying up the patio. The new roses have had a growth spurt so the first line of wires have been fitted to support them, and we agreed that the two existing roses (the white one and the one with an identity crisis) will benefit from being cut right back once they finish flowering and then train the new growth along wires. We had a quick chat about possibilities for filling the gaps next year - that's gaps in terms of space to plant something else and gaps as the seasons progress where more interest is needed at certain times - and I have a list of M's suggestions to look through and see what I like. We also agreed that the work to clean and re-grout the patio will be left until next year once the bulbs have finished and before the annuals are potted up. 

After the nutrition class I made some more progress on the decluttering. There are some things which I know have some value but I had no idea how much to advertise them for or, if I decided to sell to a dealer, who or where to sell them. So I spent some time on the laptop researching the items and I'm glad I did. This may have started as an exercise in procrastination rather than getting on and doing some actual decluttering but I had a huge smile on my face at the possibilities by the time I finished. I've found several companies that will buy the big studio spotlights and will provide quotes if you send photos, so that's my back up plan. The nearest company is a 2 hour drive away so it would have to be a good price to merit that sort of journey and I think they are too heavy to make postage a viable option for the amount that one of these companies will pay, although I will research that. I did check eBay to see whether they sell well, and was delighted to find that they make a very good price - at least £200 per spotlight plus postage nearing £60 per item - so I think I will try to sell them myself. At those sort of prices it has to be worth the effort. There's also some other things that have to go and I've also found a company that may buy them but more research is needed first. So today I'll move it all to the dining room, give it all a good clean and make a start on taking the photos.

It's the first day of August tomorrow and I am taking part in a month long challenge with Bless to declutter at least one item every day during the month, so 31 items in total. Anyone else interested in joining us?

Friday, 30 July 2021

Friday

In the garden ...


... still plenty of fuchsia flowers and the marguerites are starting to fill out.

I had a lovely productive day yesterday ... except on the decluttering side of things. I made a token effort and took some (really poor quality) photos which will need to be redone before I can place any adverts! On the plus side I did two loads of washing, completed a list of assorted admin tasks, and applied for my state pension. Am I the only person who is annoyed that we have to apply for the pension to be paid? I also spent a pleasant hour or so out in the garden soaking up the sunshine while I got on with the deadheading - I love having all the flowers but the deadheading is a never ending job. It is quite a therapeutic task though.

I spoke to my sister yesterday and heard the dreadful news that, she is fine but some family members, including some of the children, have tested positive for Covid. Fortunately they all appear to have mild cases so I am praying that they all make a full recovery. The second bit of bad news was that another one of the children came off her scooter on holiday so has spent a night in A&E. She has broken a bone in her hand and her face is swollen and grazed, and although she hasn't lost or broken any teeth she will need dental treatment when they get home. They say that bad news comes in threes so I'm wondering what the next lot of news will be? There was some good news though ... Baby R is taking his first unaided steps at almost 11 months old!

M will be here this morning to tidy up the garden. It's mostly weeding this time but the four climbing roses and the new cotoneaster could do with some attention as well. She dropped off a load of poppy seed heads when I was out on Wednesday - lobbed them over the side gate - so she'll do whatever she needs to do with those as well ... these are red poppies!

Apart from that I have nothing else planned for today although I really should get on with the decluttering. Whether I will or not is an entirely different matter!

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Thursday

SPSH No 6: something that makes you laugh or happy - live theatre

Well the Covid arrangements, despite good intentions, weren't quite as good or well enforced as promised but that was more to do with the behavior of individuals rather than the efforts of the theatre staff ... people ignoring instructions to stay in their seats at the end of the performance meant there was a free for all to reach the exits first, and also quite a few people who were refusing to wear masks. But forgetting all of that ... it was brilliant! After all that dithering I'm so glad I went and was able to enjoy a perfect afternoon losing myself in a live musical performance. There was plenty of clapping along to all the well known pop songs - why is there always someone who can't clap in time? - and it was very much a feel good time.

I plan to keep to myself for the next ten days as a precaution because, much as I enjoyed myself, going to the theatre was the riskiest thing I've done since the pandemic started and I don't want to pass that risk onto any of my family or friends. I'm half expecting to be pinged by the track and trace app as I'm sure the odds are that someone who attended the same performance will test positive in the next day or so.

Today I've come down to earth with a bang and will carry on with the decluttering. I haven't done much on that this week so I want to make a dent in it today as seeing some progress will encourage me to carry on with it, and it does have to be done. I think it's supposed to be a nice day so I will also need to tackle some of the garden chores and hopefully be able to eat my meals outside as well.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Wednesday

In the garden ...


... the first of the gladioli has flowered ... I didn't spot the photobombing ant when I was taking the photo, so sorry about that. The colour isn't at all what I was expecting but I do like it and it fits in with my colour scheme so, as long as the rest are the same, they will stay ... I was expecting a much deeper colour. When I looked at the roses earlier on the white rose was covered in flowers but after a bit of wind and rain this was the only one left intact!

I had a lovely time with Joy yesterday morning. She gave me a guided tour of her new home and yarden (a cross between a yard and a garden 😀) and we chatted for ages so I left for home feeling cheerful and relaxed. I'd originally planned to go shopping after seeing Joy but I probably outstayed my welcome stayed for much longer than I'd planned so went straight home and placed some online orders instead. 

In the afternoon I spent a bit of time sorting out the mess in the music room. I made a start on clearing the stacking boxes as that's the task that'll take longer to complete but will let me reclaim some much needed floor space in a very small room, and is also the one I don't really want to do! It'll take a while but if I chip away at it and do something every day, I'll soon get it done. I'll carry on with that this morning if I have time, fitting whatever I choose to do around the nutrition class.

This afternoon it's the performance of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I've been dithering about whether to go but now the day's actually here I'm looking forward to it and will be taking my seat in the front row of the Royal Circle. The theatre emailed to advise that they are staggering arrivals and departures to reduce the number of people moving through the theatre at any given time so, as I will be one of the first to go in, will take a book to read while I wait for the performance to start. Everyone is asked to remain seated at the end of the performance until the theatre staff indicate that your row can leave. Adding those arrangements to the fact that masks have to be worn and I think the theatre has done as much as possible to keep it safe for everyone. 

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Tuesday

In the garden ...


... the crocosmia is flowering and the pomegranate bush is full of buds.

The external doors were adjusted yesterday and now close easily and properly without any struggle on my part so that's another thing ticked off the list of repairs/services outstanding from the lockdowns. There are only a couple of things left, neither are urgent which is why they have been left, so I will look into getting those done now. One is to sort out the water pressure to the new external tap I had fitted on the back wall of the house and that'll be the next thing to sort out as it will make watering the garden so much easier. The other is a bit of decorating in the hallway to make good where there was a small leak from the family bathroom at the start of the first lockdown. It'll be nice to get them done and out of the way.

I'm seeing Joy later this morning for coffee and chat in her garden which will be a lovely start to the day even though there isn't any cake - she broke that news to me yesterday! I'll drive into town afterwards to pick up the bits of food I need and then I can settle at home for a hopefully productive afternoon.

I'm carrying on with the decluttering/sorting and I have the choice of two fair size tasks to get on with but haven't decided yet which one to tackle first. One is to finish clearing the bottom half of the double cupboard in the music room and move some kitchen things in, and the other one is to sort through the stacking boxes that are taking up a corner in the music room. I'll make a start after lunch and tackle whichever task is the one I feel like avoiding at that time!

Monday, 26 July 2021

This Week ...

... it should be a lot cooler, thankfully, but there's rain promised for most days so I won't be having too many jollies. It'll be a good week to focus on what needs doing at home.

Entertainment & Socialising

I'm hoping to meet with L but I have other plans for Wednesday which is when we usually get together so I'm waiting to hear back from her.  J was away last week so we will probably just speak on the phone as she will be catching up with work and her family. I was supposed to be meeting with K but she is ill so that's been cancelled. I'm also hoping to see Joy so will contact her today to arrange the day and time, hopefully today or tomorrow.

The biggie is that I have a ticket to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Theatre Royal on Wednesday. They have updated their Covid instructions and confirmed that masks must still be work by everyone, including when seated to watch the performance, so it's a risk but it can be balanced to a degree by the fact that although the Covid cases are increasing they remain relatively low in this area compared to the rest of England. As I write this I am planning to go and then isolate until I'm sure that I am okay, but I may feel differently on the day and decide not to go ... it's all a bit up in the air!


Online Classes & Talks

  • Monday: Tai Chi
  • Wednesday: Nutrition Club
  • Thursday: Tai Chi, Indian Cooking 
  • Friday: Nutrition Focus
  • Sunday: Tai Chi 


Health and Fitness:

I tried the Tai Chi class yesterday. I find this new leader much easier to understand and will stick to his classes for a while. Although the Sunday class is described as being for beginners, they've been running for 24 weeks so yesterday's session focused on the final form in the sequence and then put it all together. I had a go and got hopelessly confused, but despite that I loved it and think that at long long last I may have found the right physical activity for me that I will enjoy doing daily. He runs three classes every week, Monday, Thursday and Sunday, and I got the impression that the majority of people attend every session so that's what I'll do, at least until I feel more confident about what I'm doing. Just my luck, he's on holiday for the next two weeks but there is a practice video to use so I will have a go at that every week and see how I get on.

In addition I'll still fit in daily 30 minute walks and daily 20 minute knee strengthening exercises. It sounds a lot when it's written out like this but the total daily exercise works out at less than 10% of my waking day, and it's not all done in one go so it's easy to fit it in.


Home and Garden

Home: The repairman will be here this afternoon to adjust the external doors so that'll be something else ticked off on the list. It's one of those 'sometime during the afternoon' appointments so I will get on with the housework while I'm waiting for him to turn up. 

I'm intending to get back to decluttering this week and will concentrate on decluttering/reorganising the cupboards in the music room and sorting out the four stacking boxes, also in the music room.  I should be able to clear the bottom shelves in the double cupboard which I intend to use to store the overflow from the kitchen (which will be freezer boxes and the small appliances I don't use very often). 

Garden: If the weather forecast is accurate I doubt that I will need to water the garden this week but I will need a rain free hour or two to stay on top of the deadheading. M is supposed to be here on Friday but there will be very little for her to do so I will phone her to see if she wants to reschedule. I know she is extremely busy so she may prefer to be working elsewhere this week and that suits me as I will be able to cope with the things that do need doing by myself. 

  

Food: I really don't know why, as I was doing so well, but I lost the plot on Friday and that continued over the weekend. I'm sort of frustrated with myself as I was initially doing well but pizza, chips, crisps, chocolate, doughnuts, and chip shop fish and chips were enjoyed (without guilt!) so I haven't put any weight on but I was on track to lose a couple of pounds.  

I'm back to following the meal plan. I'm going to add in some additional meal ideas so that I can have a bit more choice on what I eat every day. This means I'll probably need to do some more shopping this week, probably tomorrow. 


End of Lockdown Adventures

  • this week: arrange to meet with friends for coffee
  • by the end of July: complete at least two of the local treasure trails starting with Corsham and Bradford on Avon, but the forecast doesn't look too promising so this may be carried forward to August
  • within twelve months: complete a minimum of twelve items on my post lockdown wish list, aiming to complete at least one thing on the list in July. There's one last July adventure to complete:
    • a trip to the theatre - ticket booked for Wednesday (but it'll depend on how safe the arrangements feel on the day!)
    • visiting the lavender farm
    • visiting Farleigh Castle


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: still reading Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas. 

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice

Piano: 30 minutes daily practice

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • enjoying a long overdue return visit to Farleigh Castle, and
  • also a return trip to the lavender farm
  • still chuckling following a laughter filled afternoon with L
  • sharing memories of my late partner in an emotional text conversation with A, my nephew
  • celebrating that my niece has finally married at the third attempt, the previous two attempts were cancelled due to lockdowns
  • finding out that the adjustments to the double glazed doors are covered by guarantee, and
  • that the technician will be here on Monday to resolve the issues
  • celebrating birthdays with family and friends
  • taking part in a chat/exercise class led by Wayne Sleep 
  • managing to keep up with my daily walks despite the heat
  • feeling (mostly) positive about the changes that are happening following the ending of lockdown restrictions
  • receiving a negative Covid PCR test result 😀 
  • watching a video of (Baby) P's attempts at ballet; no longer a baby but very much an adorable little girl full of mischief and ready to laugh


I am grateful ...
  • for electric fans and cooling showers
  • for sunny days
  • for all the things that people share online that never fail to inspire me


Lifestyle changes
  • exercise (30 minutes minimum every day): Achieved. I've walked every day for at least 30 minutes each time. I've also completed a 30 minute workout class and an hour long ballet/exercise class, both online. 
  • weight: no change


End of Lockdown Adventures
  • In the next 7 days: meet with friends for coffee/meals, and catch up with my sister. Achieved 

  • In the next month (up to the end of July)complete at least two of the local treasure trails starting with Corsham and Bradford on Avon - No progress this week but, all being well, I will be able to do at least one of the trails next week

  • In the next 12 monthscomplete twelve items on my post lockdown list. Progress in July:
    • A trip to the theatre. In progress - booked a ticket to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Theatre Royal, Bath next week
    • Visit Farleigh Castle. Achieved, see here
    • Visit the Lavender Farm. Achieved, see here.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Saturday

 In the garden ...


... the sweet pea has produced its very first flower and the red rose has two new blooms.

I stayed at home yesterday to avoid the heat but as the day progressed it turned out to be much cooler with a lovely refreshing breeze. I did think about going out in the afternoon but just couldn't summon up the energy! I watched part of the Olympic Opening Ceremony instead but don't know that I will bother to watch many of the actual sporting events. I do like the gymnastics, equestrian events, and some of the athletics, but am not an avid fan like my sister and BiL - I will have to choose very carefully when to phone while the Olympics are on if I want them to answer the phone!

Most of yesterday was spent switching between reading and family tree research (still trying to prove or disprove what looks like a bigamous marriage), and I think today will be more of the same. We are forecast thunderstorms for today and also for tomorrow. I vaguely heard some rain during the night though don't know how much or whether it is set in for the day. I'm not too bothered as I don't have anything special planned and the gardens could do with a good soaking. I went out for an early evening walk around the marina for yesterday's walk and will try for the same today. I also participated in an online exercise class yesterday, which was just challenging enough for my current level of fitness and I'll aim to make it a regular event. Today I will join in with a Tai Chi class - I struggle to remember the movements so am starting again with a beginners class and hope I do better this time! 

Friday, 23 July 2021

A Day In The Lavender Fields


I made it to the lavender farm yesterday so that's the second thing I can tick off on the list. It was surprisingly busy so I didn't stay as long as I'd planned to. There were two large groups of women visiting, probably WI,  and none of them seemed to have a real grasp of social distancing! I'm not entirely convinced they were all enjoying themselves - some overheard conversations that made me smile ...

... the leader to her group, "let's take a group photo, stand with your backs to the wall, we don't really want all that lavender in the photo do we"

... one of the younger women to her friend, "there's just so much lavender, it's a bit disappointing!"

... one woman to no-one in particular, "what a shame they aren't sunflowers!"

I enjoyed myself though, and I'm glad I made the effort to go because it looks like they may be harvesting before too long if the final photograph is anything to go by.  I struggled with the heat again so bought a cold drink and sat in my car to recover. Their café is only offering a limited takeaway food service which is a shame because they do the best cheese scones ever, but they're not currently on the menu so I didn't bother with food this time. There is plenty of outdoor seating but I decided against it because of the lack of social distancing by the two groups. 

On the way home I bought the latest Slimming World magazine and spent a good part of the afternoon looking through recipes. The Indian cookery class was fun, and the pakoras looked so good ... I'm tempted to make them this weekend but they don't really fit into the SW approach. I think I need to get myself settled back to the SW way of eating before I indulge in too many treats, and I have already had part of a chocolate brownie this week!

Today, will be a change of plan and instead of going out for a jollie I'll probably stay at home where it's cooler but if I do change my mind and go out I'll head over to Quaker's Walk as that should be nice and shady. The temperatures are supposed to drop next week, still sunny but much cooler, and I think that will be better for some of the things I want to do. 

It's the nutrition focus this afternoon and I believe this week's discussion is all about the science of superfoods. I've never really taken much notice of the superfoods, so I'm interested to hear what C has to say about them. Apart from that I'll have a pottering at home day. 

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Thursday

Let's start with the good news! My Covid PCR test result came through yesterday and it's negative. It's what I was expecting, but it's still good to have it confirmed. 

Yesterday was so hot! I decided against a walk during the day and went for a night-time one with my neighbour instead. We set out about 10:30pm when it was a bit cooler and just wandered around the village, putting the world to rights and generally having a good chat. It made a change and I enjoyed her company so hopefully we'll do it again some time.

I spent most of the afternoon with L hearing all about her camping trip ... she made me laugh so much it hurt! We're both watching our weight ... supposedly ... but gave in to temptation and had a brownie. In my defense I didn't eat much of mine; it looked good but was too rich and I knew I'd be ill if I ate all of it so I don't think it's done too much damage to my efforts to lose weight.


We didn't arrive until after the lunchtime rush so it wasn't too busy and we were lucky enough to get a table in the shade. We stayed chatting for about three hours, so it was a pleasant afternoon in the company of a good friend. We've tentatively arranged other things to do - L has a voucher for afternoon tea for two but she can't remember where it is (!), and next time, hopefully next week, we will try a different venue and meet at a farm café where there is plenty of shaded outdoor seating. 

The supermarket delivery arrived at 9pm and there were no substitutions so there is now a good supply of fresh fruit and veg to keep me going.

I had a lovely but emotional text conversation with my nephew last night, the one I gave all of my late partner's tools to. Out of the blue he send me a photo of one of the tools and said it is something he uses every day and always thinks of Ced when he uses it, which was so special to hear and Ced would have been over the moon about it. He loved both of my nephews dearly and was as proud of them as if they were his own sons. I won't share all of the conversation but it was wonderful to know he hasn't been forgotten by others and I felt quite tearful by the end of it, but in a good way.

Today, I'd like to visit the lavender farm this morning but will phone before driving over in case they have already started harvesting the crop ... a visit can wait for cooler days if they have because I won't be able to take the photo I have planned in my mind!  It's the Indian cookery class after lunch ... I think we're cooking the Bengali Dal Pakoras today. 

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The Day I Went to Farleigh Castle

I have been to the castle too many times to count but every time I drive through the gatehouse archway I get that same old thrill and yesterday was no exception. It was so good to be back!

It wasn't very busy at all. I only saw three families while I was there, but just my luck that I'd taught the children from one of these families and, as they aren't that well behaved, my heart sank a little when I saw them. To my relief they informed me, at the top of their voices, that they were sick so couldn't come close! I have no idea what they were doing there in that case but the ticket man heard them and I saw him walk over to talk to the parents. Anyway, considering there were so few people there I didn't manage many photos without any of them in shot so here are the few people free photos I took.

This first one is taken from the car park, looking over the western moat. 


The moat is now grassed but I wish it was still filled with water. The part of the round tower you can see on the right of the photo below is the south-west tower which is in the centre of the first photo. I'd love to live in that thatched cottage, right by the castle. 



It was really too hot for sightseeing so I started off down in the cool of the crypt. This was created around 1600 to hold the coffins of the Hungerford family and contains lead coffins, four of which have faces moulded on them. I've always been saddened by the two infant coffins.
 

It seems that graffiti has always been an issue. The walls at the bottom of the steps leading down to the crypt are covered in names and dates; it must have taken them ages to scratch their names into the stone.


Next stop was the chapel. I didn't stay long in here as another family followed me in and I couldn't take many usable photos, but I did manage to photograph one of the wall paintings and one showing the font and the roof beams, plus a possibility for my monthly photo challenge.

I've played in a carol service in this chapel, and when I was a school the school choir performed here, so it holds special memories. The acoustics are pretty good too! 


To finish, some photos looking out over the neighbouring farmland. 


The castle has a fascinating history which you can read about here if you are interested.

I was drinking plenty of water but still had a bit of a funny five minutes so I wandered back to the car, which fortunately was parked in the shade, and read for a while before leaving for home. With the air conditioning on I soon cooled down and felt okay so I stopped just round the corner from the castle to take these photos of the village near the bridges that cross the River Frome.



*****************

Today is supposed to be just as hot so I don't know whether to stick to my plan and go to Bradford on Avon or find something else to do. I'm thinking Clanger Wood may be a cooler option but I'll see how I feel after breakfast. I'm meeting L for coffee this afternoon, which I'm sure will involve a lot of laughing as I will be hearing all about her recent camping escapades! There will be cake as well 😀 

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Tuesday

In the garden ...

osteospurmum
nasturtium (it looks orange in the photo but it is definitely red!)
mesembryanthemum


Yesterday I waited all day for a telephone call from my GP but it didn't happen so I will phone this morning when the surgery opens to find out what went wrong. The knock on effect of that was that I didn't get into town to do the shopping so I have ordered online and that will now be delivered on Wednesday evening. 

I did make a start on the housework while I was waiting in so that was a plus, as I hadn't really set aside time for getting that done. I also contacted the company that installed all the doors and was delighted to hear that the adjustments required are covered by guarantee so will be free of charge. I'd misread the guarantee and thought it didn't cover adjustments after one year but, thankfully, I was wrong and they will be sending someone over to sort it all out for me. They will phone today to let me know when they can do the work.

The highlight of today will be a long awaited return visit to Farleigh Castle this afternoon. You still have to book a time slot so I've chosen 3 pm as, at the time of booking, the website was showing "good availability" suggesting there should be relatively few other visitors ... which suits me. All being well, there will be photos tomorrow.

Monday, 19 July 2021

This Week ...

The requirement for me to self isolate ended at midnight so I plan to be out and about this week to make the most of the glorious weather. It's the end of the lockdown restrictions in England today so it may be busier than it has been but the school term doesn't end until Friday so I want to fit some jollies in before the children start their summer holiday break.

Entertainment & Socialising

I'm meeting with L on Wednesday and will catch up with my sister at some stage during the week. I'm also waiting to hear back from K to see if she is able to meet for one of the Wiltshire Walks this week instead of next.

I still have to check the TV listings for the week to see if there is anything I'd like to watch. I haven't decided yet whether I'll watch the live transmission or programme it to record and then watch everything in one session.

I'm hoping to be out every day this week. Today I'll stay local as I have some food shopping to do and a telephone consultation with my GP, but the rest of the week is looking like this:

  • Tuesday - visit Farleigh Castle
  • Wednesday - continue with the treasure trail in Bradford on Avon
  • Thursday - visit the lavender farm
  • Friday - there's rain scheduled so probably a canal walk, dodging the raindrops
  • Saturday - undecided, but possibilities include the walk with K or a photo walk around Westbury
  • Sunday - again undecided, but possibilities include the walk with K if it doesn't happen on Saturday or a photo walk around Trowbridge park


Online Classes & Talks

  • Tuesday: for the next three weeks, a talk/exercise class combo led by Wayne Sleep
  • Wednesday: Nutrition Club
  • Thursday: Indian Cooking 
  • Friday: Nutrition Focus  


Health and Fitness:

If I manage to get out every day I will easily complete the 30 minute walk every day and more. I'll also try the exercises during the Wayne Sleep talk.


Home and Garden

Home: It'll just be the bare minimum of housework this week as the outdoor is calling me! Decluttering can wait until next week.

Three of the external doors need to be adjusted as they are difficult to close, so I emailed a local company for a quote and am waiting for them to get back to me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not too expensive and that I won't have to wait too long. 

Garden: Watering and deadheading as necessary and that's it for anything resembling garden work. I'm hoping to enjoy my breakfast out on the patio every day this week before it gets too hot, and then spend the later part of the evening out there when it cools a little, just to read and enjoy the peace and quiet.

  

Food: I've started looking at my meal plans to see what changes I need to make now I've decided to have another go at Slimming World. So far there aren't that many changes, which pleases me as it means the changes I've been making over the past year or so have been a step in the right direction. I know there are a handful of things in the freezer that aren't the best for SW but they can still be eaten so I think the main issue may be that portion sizes have crept up again and that needs to be addressed as a priority. As well as food shopping today I will be looking for some new kitchen scales, as the current one is rather temperamental, and one or two smaller plates.  


End of Lockdown Adventures

  • this week: meet with friends for coffee/meals, and catch up with my sister
  • by the end of July: complete at least two of the local treasure trails starting with Corsham and Bradford on Avon
  • within twelve months: complete a minimum of twelve items on my post lockdown wish list, aiming to complete at least one thing on the list in July. July's adventures will include:
    • a trip to the theatre - ticket booked for end July (but it'll depend on how safe the arrangements feel on the day!)
    • visiting the lavender farm
    • visiting Farleigh Castle


and finally, Hobbies:

Reading: reading Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas. I'm about half way through it but it hasn't really grabbed my interest. I won't include any detailed spoilers but there is one aspect of the storyline that is unbelievable (to me) and I'm continuing to read to see if it gets resolved and all makes sense in the end.

Italian: 15 - 20 minutes daily practice, following the Open Learn course

Piano or flute: 30 minutes daily practice

Sewing: making a skirt

Family Tree: concentrate on my maternal grandfather's line

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Weekly Reflections

  Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • M planting the last few new plants (for this year!)
  • gaining six additional plants free of charge
  • starting a list of ideas for filling the planting gaps for next year, and
  • starting the planning for the front garden
  • absolutely loving a week without TV, and
  • reading three books this week, realising that I haven't lost my reading mojo and I just need to retrain myself to focus on one thing at a time!
  • discovering that the Radio Times is available via the local library's online service so I have an easy and free way to be selective with TV viewing in the future
  • playing an online mystery game
  • getting my hair cut
  • enjoying time spent in the garden
  • having time for extra piano practice and Italian practice as a result of self isolating 


I am grateful ...
  • for the support of my family and friends following the instruction to self isolate ... I've been contacted every day to see if I needed anything and just to keep my spirits up, and also
  • that it was just a warning of the possible risk following contact with the Covid virus and I that I haven't developed any signs of the actual illness at all
  • for access to the local library's online facility which gives free access to eBooks and digital magazines
  • for sunny days


Lifestyle changes

I've decided that I will at the try the Slimming World plan to try to boost the weight loss. To start with I will go it alone but there is always the option to join a local group or to take up online membership if I feel I need additional support. I intend to start straight away though there will probably be a number of meal portions that don't fit the SW way and which have to be used up, so initially it'll be a bit of a hit and miss approach!
  • exercise (30 minutes minimum every day): achieved 
  • weight: no change


End of Lockdown Adventures
  • In the next 7 days: catch up with my sister, and have a look at the local Art Trail  Achieved in part - I have spoken to my sister but was unable to meet in person due to the need to self isolate. For the same reason I couldn't follow the local Art Trail 

  • In the next month (up to the end of July)complete at least two of the local guided walks/treasure trails - No progress this week but, all being well, I will be able to do at least one of the trails next week

  • In the next 12 monthscomplete twelve items on my post lockdown list. In progress for July:
    • booked a ticket to see Priscilla Queen of the Desert at the Theatre Royal, Bath at the end of July 2021

Saturday, 17 July 2021

A Garden Update

In the garden ... 


One of the dwarf sunflowers (photo 1) has started flowering and the other has plenty of buds so it won't be long before it too is in bloom. They are the only yellow flowers for this time of the year and I'm not sure whether their inclusion is a mistake. Sunflowers were our flower so these dwarf ones provide the opportunity to have them in the garden as a happy reminder, but they do stand out amongst all the purples and pinks and I'm haven't decided yet whether they stand out in a good way, or like the orange poppies, in a bad way. I suppose the fact that I haven't instantly rejected them works in their favour and, for this year at least, will be allowed to stay.

The second gaura (photo 2) is starting to flower and is a much darker pink than the other one. Both are beautiful and I'm happy with my choices. The same for the new pink rose (photo 3) which is a much deeper colour than that shown on the label but I love it and it will hold it's own next to the deep red rose. 

The new plants are now all planted. The pink salvia and one of the perennial nemesia have gone in the centre bed with two more of the nemesias in the side beds. I only ordered and paid for two perennial nemesia plants but have somehow ended up with eight of them, not that I'm complaining, so the remaining five nemesias are in pots. There are also three marguerites, pink ones, which there will be a place for every year if they do as well in pots as the online photos suggest.  

For this year, that's all of the planting done ... or so I thought! M has seen some phlox which she thinks will look good in the far bed so, if there are any left when she goes back to the shop, she will buy some for me. There will undoubtedly be gaps in the planting but for now it all needs to grow and fill out. The crocosmia lucifer are producing their flower stems so they will be the next group of plants to bloom, closely followed by the gladioli, and ... the sweet peas are growing at long last! 

We also discussed ideas for the front garden which is going to be planted up with bulbs but I don't know whether the planting for that will start this year as I still have to buy the rest of the pots for the spring bulbs in the back garden.

Apart from the usual maintenance jobs, there won't be that much in the way of actual gardening for M to do next time so we're debating whether to make a start on the patio re-grouting. However, the patio needs to be power washed before that can happen and that means moving all the pots around so there's a big question mark about the best time to do that ... maybe it is better to wait until next year and fit it in the gap between the pots of spring bulbs going into storage and before all the pots of annuals are ready to go out. I also need to buy the pot mover! She is very busy at present, so we'll speak before her next scheduled visit in two weeks and decide what to do.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Friday

I had a relatively quiet day yesterday. I didn't feel too good and all I really wanted to do was sleep. I don't think it was anything to do with Covid and was much more likely due to the combination of a poor night's sleep and the dreaded hay fever - the symptoms of hay fever are very similar to those of Covid once you've had both doses of the vaccine. I had a nap in the afternoon and slept well last night so am feeling much brighter today.

I've put the sewing on hold until my dressmaking shears are returned. I don't have any choice really as I don't have any other scissors suitable for the task and I don't want to replace the shears, so I sent out a request ultimatum to the likely candidates and waited ... the culprit confessed and will get them sharpened before returning them to me. Instead I spent a pleasant morning pottering in the garden, deadheading, sweeping the patio, and sitting in the sunshine. It was a glorious day.

The Indian cookery class was fun and I will try the recipe on Saturday. I'm missing two of the spices but she said they were optional so, as I have everything else, I will have a go at making the Tadka Dal. It looks like a very easy and quick recipe, so a useful addition to my growing repertoire of spicy meals.

M will be here this morning. I'll leave the side gate open and stay indoors out of her way. There isn't much to do this time, just the salvia to go in the centre bed, and the marguerites to go in pots. There are also four perennial nemesia which I bought to go in the centre bed but am now thinking I'd prefer them to be in pots so will see what M thinks is best. There's some weeding needs doing, and one of the pots of cosmos seems to contain an ant's nest so that will have to be sorted.

It's the nutrition focus this afternoon when we're discussing sleep, which is the one I missed, and that's about it for today. Once that has finished I'll keep my mind occupied by chopping and changing between reading and carrying on with the family tree. The complete lack of mindless TV watching has already made a big difference to how I feel and how much enjoyment I get from the things I've chosen to do. Already it is clear that I haven't lost my reading mojo at all and, with no distractions or half hearted concentration, have read two books this week and started on a third. 

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Thursday

In the garden ...


I couldn't get through to the skirt pattern company so rather than wait (because I don't have much patience!) I reprinted, using the revised pattern download. This meant I had a thoroughly enjoyable morning playing with paper and glue. I didn't have as much time as I thought because I'd forgotten about the nutrition club, but I now have a recognisable pattern and am ready to go. It's probably just as well to let the glue dry properly before I place the pattern anywhere near the fabric anyway - because I'd chatted for such a long time with J last Thursday I'd abandoned my other bits of shopping in Home Bargains and one of the things I needed was a decent glue stick, so I had to make do with a very old bottle of glue that had to be applied with a brush ... that was fun!

The afternoon spent on the family tree research produced some interesting results and has raised the question of a bigamous marriage! We seem to have had just about everything else - prison, workhouse, military distinction, actor, accidents, murder - so I suppose bigamy, if it proves to be correct, is just something else to add to the list. I'm carrying on with the research this afternoon.

This morning is set aside to cut out the skirt and check/adjust the tailor's dummy. It occurred to me that I will need to adjust it now that I've lost weight and gone down a dress size. It took me ages last time so getting that adjusted may be all I get done in the time available. The actual sewing won't take much time at all, it's all this faffing about to get started!

It's the Indian cookery class at lunchtime and today's recipe is Tadka Dal & Basmati Rice. I haven't checked the list of ingredients yet so I don't know if I have everything in stock for this, but if I do it'll be my Saturday night treat.

Apart from the usual piano and Italian practice sessions, I need to spend a bit of time tidying up in the garden. I don't know if M will be here tomorrow or not. I've explained the situation so am waiting on her response but there's only a few more new plants to be dealt with, which could easily wait for a rescheduled visit. 

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Wednesday

Yesterday was good up to a point. I did the bits of cooking I needed to finish off, cleaned the fridge and sorted the garage freezer, and had my haircut as arranged ... all good so far. Then my phone pinged with a notification from the NHS Covid app to advise that I have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid and that I have to self isolate until midnight on Sunday! This means that the 'contact' happened on Thursday when I met J for coffee and then brought the fabric. 

I've read the advice and I don't need to test but if I do want a test it can't be a lateral flow test because I have been asked to self isolate. I don't understand the reason for this but as I don't want to go to a test centre and as I have no symptoms I won't worry about a test for now. As a precaution I've phoned or texted the people I have seen (socially distanced) since Thursday, which thankfully only amounts to four people. I still have to contact M about Friday.

I feel fine and have no worrying symptoms, so I just have to amuse myself at home for the rest of this week. There's plenty of food and daily meds so I have everything I need, and my sister is aware of the situation which means I have someone I can call on for help if needs be. 

I've decided that this means I can indulge myself and forget about the decluttering for the time being. It's not entirely lazy-itis - there is a practical reason for this as I don't want to drag things out of boxes when I can't get rid of them straight away. That's my excuse anyway and you have to find the positive in any situation don't you?

So this morning I have the ideal opportunity to polish up my sewing skills and get started on my skirt. First thing is to contact the company to find out what changed in the revised download and amend/reprint the pattern as necessary. Hopefully that will be straightforward and I'll be able to get the pieces cut out as well. 

I'm devoting this afternoon to family tree research. I can see that several new hints have been generated by the Ancestry software, all for the branch of the family I am focusing on, so I am hopeful that I'll be able to break through the brick wall and start joining the dots ... fingers crossed anyway!

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Tuesday

 In the garden ... 

It's definitely orange and it's days are numbered - I will try to persuade my sister that she wants it! It's also out of focus, sorry.


I spent most of yesterday morning in the kitchen, singing along with the radio while I cooked up all the food that wouldn't fit it the garage freezer and so had defrosted in the fridge. There are now portions of shepherd's pie, chilli, chicken casserole, and fish bake ready to eat with a portion of each in the fridge for this week and the rest have been frozen.  I finished defrosting the kitchen freezer and that has now been refilled, and I've created a new inventory of freezer content - something I always intend to stay on top of but often forget to update! I still need to reorganise the garage freezer, which I will do today and then carry on cleaning the kitchen, clearing out the fridge and giving it a good clean. 

I have one defrosted pack of ready made pastry to use up today. I don't know why I bought it as, if I want pastry I usually make my own from scratch, but it's there and needs to be used up so am making some spicy chicken puffs and possibly some cheese and bacon turnovers as well.

I didn't venture too far yesterday afternoon because of the rain but did get to chat with my neighbours when I moved the green bin (garden waste) to the front of the house ready for emptying today. They are as unimpressed with the end of lockdown restrictions as I am! 

G will be here this afternoon to cut my hair and once she's made me look human again I may go out for a drive round. I feel the need for a change of scenery.

My 'No TV' week has started well. I want to get back to only turning the TV on if there is a programme I really want to watch, and then switching it off again as soon as the programme is finished. I've been bored by recent TV offerings and have resorted to half watching programmes that I'm really not interested in so this week is a bit of an experiment to see how I choose to fill my time if I don't watch TV. Last night I played the piano, wrote a letter to a friend, and read for a while before having an early night.