Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Tuesday 30th November

I have a bit of catching up to do now that I have internet access again so will attempt to fit that around the only diary entry today, which is a mid morning visit from G to cut my hair. 

It's surprising how quickly my inbox has filled up over the last few day. I've cleared the majority of the emails and am left with a few that I need to deal with today without fail, so admin duties it is. They are related to my request for quotes for items I'm looking to sell; most are stating their interest and contain the quotes but four of them are requesting additional information and photographs. It's a bit annoying really but I'll just have to get on with it. 

I have a couple of parcels to send off, one sold item and one birthday gift for a friend, so while I'm at the Post Office I'll get my tyre pressure checked. That probably sounds a bit odd and no, the Post Office hasn't started offering car maintenance - this is a sub Post Office and is located in the local petrol station/shop. I never have much luck checking the tyre pressure there as for some unknown reason their machine really doesn't like me and I always have to ask for help!

'Who Do You Think You Are' is on tonight and I think it may be the final episode in this series, featuring Ed Balls and I'll follow that with an early night.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt

I almost forgot about this! The Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt will run from December 1st 2021 to 31st March 2022; all photos must be your own work and must be taken between those dates, please.

There is a list of 20 prompts to find photos for, but up to three of these can be substituted using the alternative prompts at the end of the list if necessary. I've tried to think of prompts that can be found both indoors and outdoors, depending on local Covid restrictions but will add additional alternatives if it proves necessary.

Everyone is welcome to join in and remember, the most important part of the hunt is to have fun!

  1. Party time!
  2. A Star
  3. Something you use every day
  4. Form or shape
  5. Diagonal
  6. Currency
  7. A rainbow
  8. In profile
  9. A single letter of the alphabet
  10. Tree(s)
  11. Represent your zodiac sign or your Chinese year animal
  12. Symbolic of the country you call home
  13. Graffiti/Street Art
  14. A tea break/coffee break
  15. An external light
  16. Half
  17. Wheel(s)
  18. A gift
  19. A decoration
  20. Small

Alt A. Free choice
Alt B. The weather today
Alt C. Square(s)

The first link up will be in the first week of January. Good luck everyone and remember to have fun! 😀

Monday 29th November

... normal service is resumed! The Openreach engineer arrived at 8:30am and spent most of the morning investigating why there was no internet. He eventually tracked it down to water ingress in the external grey box where the phone line enter the house and then again at one of the inspection points near the junction/switch box. The wires had corroded so everything has now been replaced and there should be no more problems. 

I have definitely felt unwell since having the booster jab on Saturday. My arm is very painful and swollen by the injection site so it's difficult to get comfortable. I've also been shivery and unable to get warm since then but I think that's more to do with getting so chilled when waiting outside to have the injection rather than anything to do with the injection itself. Lack of sleep for the last two nights hasn't helped either.

It's the final online session with Barbara Dickson for an hour this afternoon but that's the only thing in the diary. I'll try to stay wake for that and then give in and enjoy some Zzzzzs! 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • completing the tolerance testing for bread with no issues at all, so it's no longer eliminated and can make a regular appearance in my meal plans
  • celebrating my birthday 
  • getting my booster jab 
  • making arrangements to see friends and family face to face
  • loving that I am back to reading novels again 
  • planning a couple of solo adventures = two more things to look forward to
  • feeling more energised 

I am grateful ...
  • for the opportunities I have
  • for the variety of food available to us 
  • for central heating and hot water on demand

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise: 
    • 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved at least 30 minutes each day
    • 30 minute workouts twice a week. Achieved 
    • 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved 
  • weight: no change

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Saturday 27th November

Many thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday. I will get around to responding to you all individually but I ran out of time. I had a lovely birthday, enjoying a long lunch with friends and time with family. 

The biggie for today is a trip to Bath this afternoon for my booster jab. I'm relieved to be getting it done especially in the light of the new variant ... it's never ending, is it.  I've started arranging some face to face meetings for when the booster has had time to start working, and so far have my friend and one of her daughters coming round one evening to share a takeaway and a long overdue catch up, a daytime walk with H (date still to be confirmed but it'll be before Christmas), and a café catch up with J. I've also texted both of my nephews to see when they are free so I can spend some time with the children.

I think that's all I have to say for today except ... I'll be passing by the piano shop in Bath on my way home so, if there is room to park outside, I may pop in and have a look at all the bright shiny new pianos!

Friday, 26 November 2021

Friday 26th November: Taking Stock

Taking stock  on my birthday ... an overview of life on completing another year around the sun.

Making ... good progress on decluttering all the unwanted items. I won't meet my target date of December 1st but I'm so close to disposing of everything that I'm not too worried. I'm not setting a new target date just yet but it's likely to run into January.

Cooking ... lots of new-to-me recipes. Over the last year I seem to have veered more towards vegetarian and vegan recipes, not for any ethical reason but because they seem to suit me and I enjoy them. I still eat poultry and fish but that's restricted to maybe three or four meals out of the twenty-one meals I eat every week. 

Drinking ... water or herbal teas. Coffee is no longer an option since eliminating it as part of the 21 day healthy eating and weight loss programme and I haven't decided yet whether I want to try to reintroduce it. I take daily medication for hypertension so really, coffee should be avoided.

Learning ... to speak Italian and to play the piano. I've been using The Duolingo free app for the Italian but it doesn't really provide the opportunities for conversation that I want, so one of my goals as I head into my 66th year is to find an opportunity for Italian conversation locally. The piano playing is going well, much better than I was expecting. I was lucky enough to find the perfect teacher for me and I've made significant progress since starting the lessons ... to the point where I'm considering taking piano exams, something I never thought I'd say!

Reading ... my love of reading has returned and I'm back to devouring novels again ... crime, mysteries and thrillers are still my preferred genres. I've been doing quite a lot of reading during the afternoons and have rearranged my night time routine so I now read for an hour in bed before switching off the light.

Wanting ... I'm lucky enough to be able to say that there isn't really anything I want in terms of material things (except a replacement piano, but you get what I'm trying to say!). All I really want for my next year of life is to be able to spent more time in the company of family and friends.

Looking ... for possible holiday locations in the UK for summer 2022. I haven't decided yet whether I want one long holiday or a few short breaks, and I suppose that decision depends on my chosen destination(s).

Playing ... mostly piano or flute. I haven't played brass or clarinet for ages and haven't missed the experience so it's probably time to decide what to do with the instruments. They need to be played so if I'm no longer interested in doing that, then maybe I should sell them.

Deciding ... that from now on I will be going out and socialising more. I have my booster jab tomorrow and as soon as that has had time to start working I will look at adding some dates to the diary. Of course, this all depends on Covid numbers locally (still really high) and on being able to meet up with people or enjoy solo adventures in a way that feels safe to me. 

Wishing ... for a mild winter, though I think I may be unlucky this time!

Enjoying ... how everyday life has settled into an easy routine. The lockdowns have made me slow down and appreciate the slower pace of life, something that's echoed by the majority of my friends.

Wondering ... whether I will need a knee replacement operation. My GP suggested this last time I saw him but he hasn't done a referral yet.

Loving ... life in general. My family and friends have survived their clashes with Covid and are all back to full health. I know we have been luckier than a lot of other people. 

Pondering ... what I want to do with/get out of the rest of my life. In one of the online classes we were asked to define what we saw as the purpose of our life. Some of the other participants knew straight away but I struggled with defining mine. 

Considering ... all things piano and trying to decide which model I will buy to replace my current one. I've set my budget and will have the finances in place by April 2022.

Watching ... my birthday present to myself is to restart the Disney+ subscription so I'll be catching up with films I missed when they were released. I'm not sure if they are all available on Disney+ but I want to watch the Marvel films in order of release.

Knowing ... that my focus for the next year of life needs to be on losing weight and increasing fitness levels. 

Thinking ... that life is good and I'm in a happy place!

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Thursday 25th November

Well, so much for my hoped for lazy day yesterday! It turned into One Of Those Days, with one thing after another going wrong! To start with the broadband failed again around 9 am; this has been happening most days, too often, so I contacted the service department to be told (eventually) that there is a problem with the phone line and BT Openreach will need to resolve the issue. A tentative appointment has been booked for Monday or Tuesday next week but it is up to Openreach to confirm when they will send an engineer and it may be on a completely different day! 

Lack of internet access meant that I missed the nutrition class, which was disappointing as I particularly wanted to listen to the advice on overeating, food cravings and binge eating, but Joy has updated me on what was discussed and I'm sure the subject will be repeated in a future class. I was panicking about the lack of internet for my piano lesson but thankfully it started working again just before the lesson was due to start ... sighs of relief all round! The lesson went well and she was pleased with my attempts even though I didn't think I'd played particularly well. I have two new short pieces for next week as well as repeating one of this week's pieces to attempt a more advanced technique for playing slurs. The delights of correct pedalling will have to wait another week.

After the piano lesson I wandered into the kitchen to think about lunch and really struggled to pull out one of the freezer drawers. I couldn't work out what the problem was to start with as there was nothing in the drawer to cause an obstruction but I eventually realised that the freezer was completely iced up, which meant I'd have to defrost it as by that time I'd moved the drawer enough to prevent the door closing. This isn't supposed to happen with this model of freezer but I've have had to do it before. Anyway, I moved as much of the stuff to the garage freezer as I could and hoped for the best with the remainder, which I piled into a black bag and stored it in the freezing cold garage. Note to self: it's time to start wearing a coat to go out to the garage freezer! I decided that if the stuff in the black bag defrosted, I'd just have to have a mammoth batch cooking session. As it turns out it wasn't necessary as there was no sign of any defrosting at all when I placed everything back in the kitchen freezer about three hours later. 

I then made the mistake of reaching into the fridge to start prepping a meal and I knocked over a container of dhal, which of course was on the top shelf, so that meant the fridge had to be cleaned out ... again, as I did it not long ago. I need to clean the door again today because I dislodged an egg as I closed the door and that dripped over everything below - I wiped the worst of it up but it needs to be done properly today.

By mid afternoon the internet had given up again, hence no comments from me on any of your posts yesterday, so I switched the TV on to check the programmes for the evening ... no luck, it was all pixelated which happens from time to time in certain weather conditions, so I settled down to read instead ... thankfully, that was fine and nothing else went wrong 😊

It's day 2 of the tolerance testing for bread and so far there have been no problems at all. I don't have any plans for today now ... I was meeting with L but her dad had been admitted to hospital (not Covid) so she's had to cancel. I may try again for a lazy day.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Wednesday 24th November

Well the good news is that reintroducing bread caused no problems at all yesterday, so now I need to avoid bread completely for the next three days and wait to see how I feel. It can take that long for any symptoms to appear but I'm hopeful that it is going to be okay.

We had the final 'celebration' session for the healthy eating/weight loss programme yesterday which was a fun way to end. We can still ask any questions we may have during their regular sessions so we're not without support if needed in the future and we were reminded that, once we've worked out whether there are any underlying intolerances and learn to avoid those foods, this is a healthy eating framework for life. Some people follow the advice religiously every day but equally, some people use it three or four times a year to 'reset' themselves. I intend to make it my regular way of eating and we have been assured that if we do that, the weight loss will continue. 

So it's back to my normal schedule today with a regular nutrition class followed by my piano lesson. This week's practice has gone better than I was expecting so if the lesson goes well we should start working on improving my pedal technique, which is currently more of a 'hope for the best' approach rather than anything you could describe as a 'technique'! 

It's forecast to be a chilly day but it should remain dry so I'm leaving my walk until after lunch and, if the light is good enough, will take my camera with me and try for some photos. 

I don't have a busy to-do list today ... I've awarded myself a day off for completing the healthy eating programme! ... but I do need to arrange for the boiler to be checked and the annual MOT on the car. They shouldn't take long to sort out and then I can just fill my time as I please. 

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Tuesday 23rd November

Yesterday wasn't a total success. The mushroom stroganoff counts as a success - I really enjoyed it so have kept a second portion in the fridge for today's lunch and frozen a third portion to make sure that it freezes well. The decluttering didn't go so well though. Of the two enquiries there was one sale and the other was a 'no show', which I was half expecting. I contacted the music charity to find that they are interested but are not accepting donations for the foreseeable future, which is disappointing as it would have been an ideal way to dispose of the music and instruments. I'll have to come up with another solution as I don't really want it hanging around home for much longer. 

It's the final healthy eating/weight loss Zoom class this morning. It's more of a round up/celebration session which I will attend but, as I haven't started tolerance testing, I feel at a slight disadvantage. I'm starting that today, including bread at breakfast and lunch, and then excluding it again while I wait to see how I feel for the rest of today and for the next two or three days. If there are no adverse symptoms I'll be able to resume including bread in my diet. I love bread, so am hoping that it doesn't cause any upsets.

On the decluttering front I have some more parcels to send off - 1 box of sold items, 2 boxes to family, and 1 box of vintage items for a quote. There's also a couple of bags ready for the next charity donation (mostly clothes), and a bag of items for disposal at the recycling yard. I've found a local charity that will collect unwanted items including furniture so they may be interested in the bookcase and fridge being stored in the garage. I don't know if you have to pay for their service or whether they collect for free - their Facebook page is slightly confusing as they also do rubbish clearance, which I know is chargeable, so will only use them if the collection of donated items is a free service. If not, I will arrange for someone to help me take the two items to the recycling yard instead.

It's 'Who Do You Think You Are on TV' tonight so I'll be watching that later on, and then an early-ish night to read until I feel sleepy.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Monday 22nd November

It's the last couple of day of the healthy eating/weight loss programme. There's a goal setting session this morning (which is a bit annoying as I thought they'd finished!) and a nutrition session this evening, and then a round up/celebration session tomorrow. I'll be making a start on reintroducing the eliminated foods this week, starting with bread so am keeping everything crossed that it goes well. I was supposed to start today but realised too late that I don't actually have any bread in the house so will need to go shopping first!

I've had a couple of enquiries about items I've advertised. I think one is a definite sale and that should be sorted out this afternoon - she's coming to see the item after she's collected her son from school. I'm not sure about the other one; the person is coming to see the item today but has tried to negotiate on the price with a couple of ridiculously low offers so I'm not too hopeful for a sale. On the decluttering front, I've also made a start on sorting out clothes that I know I won't wear again and today, will start looking for ways to deal with the remainder of the sheet music. I've found a charity, Music for All, who help people of all ages and backgrounds get involved in music so want to contact them to see if they are interested in any of the remaining sheet music/tutor books, and I also have a couple of beginner's plastic clarinets that they can have.

I'll be out for a walk after the goal setting class. I'm undecided about where to walk today but whichever route I choose will have to pass close to a post box as I have three birthday cards to send on their way, all for friends, and while I'm out will pick up the bread and some mushrooms - mushroom stroganoff is on the menu for tonight's meal. I'd like to arrange something with J and with L for this week but that'll all depend on how busy they are with work, etc. 

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • hearing from my late partner's brother and making arrangements to meet early next year, Covid permitting
  • hearing from P who I haven't seen since the last day of secondary school
  • taking part in an online workshop with author friend
  • clearing up the records relating to my maternal grandfather's line on my family tree
  • making time to enjoy reading novels 
  • investigating replacement pianos and discovering that stores in Bath (12 miles away) and Bristol (30 miles away) stock my current No 1 choice so I will be able to try before I buy (I previously thought it would involve a 200 miles round trip!)
  • trying out some new recipes
  • enjoying a walk around Southwick Country Park

I am grateful ...
  • for central heating and snuggle blankets now the temperatures are falling
  • for online ordering and food deliveries to my door
  • for friendly early morning dog walker who greet me with a cheery 'hello'

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise: 
    • 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved at least 30 minutes each day
    • 30 minute workouts twice a week. Achieved one
    • 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved 
  • weight: 1 lb loss 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Saturday 20th November

I managed to catch up with myself yesterday and the to-do list of all the bitty tasks has been completed, so I can enjoy the weekend with a clear conscience. The weekend started yesterday and there is nothing in the diary at all for today and tomorrow so that means a quiet time amusing myself, mostly at home. The temperature is forecast to drop to 6°C on Sunday so although it's not going to be much warmer today I will go out for a longer than usual walk, maybe to the Country Park at Southwick or the one in town.

I can indulge in as much reading as I like as well as the usual piano and Italian practice sessions, although I think most of my time will be spent on the family tree. I've printed out the complete records relating to my maternal grandfather's line so taping them all together will be an achievement in itself, and once that's done I need to focus on my great-grand parents to clear up the confusion in all their dates.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Friday 19th November

The Zoom session to review my author friend's writing and to trial his plans for a creative writing workshop was great fun. There were six of us taking part - the author (male) and five reviewers/guinea pigs (3 x male, 2 x female) and it was ... interesting. I have absolutely no idea why men always say that it's women who talk a lot and can't stick to the point, as the men completely dominated the conversation and for the first hour talked about anything and everything except the reason we were there which was to review the pieces of writing. In the end I may have resorted to my teacher voice and suggested how it could be organised so that everyone present had a chance to speak and present their views ... they  may have mumbled "Yes, Miss" and looked a bit sheepish, but they did behave after that! 😊 The reviews took much longer than expected but J was pleased with the feedback and we agreed to trial the workshop idea one day next week instead.

Today the only things in the diary are two nutrition classes; the regular one where I think the topic is inflammation, and after lunch it's the penultimate one for the 21 day programme. I'm not sure what I'll do with the rest of the day. I'll go out for a walk this morning around the marina but once I get back from that I plan to stay indoors in the warm ... the days are definitely getting colder. It feels like a pottering sort of day will suit me best, so I'll finish off the admin and then whatever else I fancy doing ... I'd like at least the morning to be productive and then the weekend can start after 2pm when the second nutrition session finishes.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Thursday 18th November

I didn't manage to finish off all the part started tasks but for two wonderful reasons, so I'm not beating myself about it. Completely out of the blue I heard from my late partner's brother who I haven't seen since the start of the pandemic so that was a pleasant surprise. Then, as soon as I put the phone down on the table it rang again and that time it was P who emigrated the day after we finished secondary school and who is now back in the UK ... she now has an Australian accent! There was a lot of catching up to do and we are hoping to be able to meet up in the new year.

My piano lesson was good fun. I didn't play the pieces as well as I have been playing them but not so badly that they were hopeless. Typically, I played them through again after the lesson and was note perfect! Anyway I'm moving on to new pieces, which I'm happy about!

The labelling session was interesting and a bit of an eye opener. One example is that she compared the labels of mayonnaise and mayonnaise lite and it was shocking to see the comparison - mayonnaise is a much healthier choice than the lite version because of the way the recipe is tweaked for the lite version. There's too much to repeat here but I think the thing that shocked me the most is how misleading so many labels are - apparently 'sugar free' doesn't necessarily mean there is no sugar in the recipes, just that there is less than 5%! I will be checking labels more carefully from now on.

Today I will be online for most of the day, taking part in a review session with my author friend. We're discussing the last lot of writing he sent us and will also be trialling a creative writing workshop he is developing. It should be a good day!

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Wednesday 17th November

It was a strange sort of day yesterday. I managed to get a lot of my list cleared even though my heart really wasn't in it. I don't know why but I found it almost impossible to settle on one task, so everything took longer than it should have done! Today I need to finish off the ones I started but didn't complete. 

This morning I have another check-up with the optician first thing and that's followed by a nutrition class (a regular one, not to do with the programme) ... we are getting to grips with labelling today, which I did once before on the diabetes course but I have a feeling that Claudia's class will be much more informative. Immediately afterwards it's my piano lesson. I have practiced the two set pieces but I'm not really playing them confidently so I won't be surprised if I continue to work on them this week as well. 

The revised timetable for the programme was issued very late on Monday night so I didn't see it until the morning. There's an additional goal setting class this morning which I'll miss because I'll be at the opticians and wasn't prepared to change my appointment at such short notice. The other additional classes will probably be missed as well although I will try to change my arrangements so I can at least do the nutrition ones as they are the most useful. I'll see how it goes.

I'm hoping for a phone chat with J this afternoon. We were planning to meet up this week but she's really busy with work so we're settling for a chat and will meet next week. L is feeling better but we're leaving it for a few days until we meet - it wasn't Covid thankfully, but she has been really poorly and now needs to get her energy levels back up.

It's episode 5 of Shetland tonight so I'll be glued to the screen from 9 pm, and then up to bed to read for a while before an early-ish night.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Tuesday 16th November

The 30 day healthy eating and weight loss programme has now been reduced to 21 days so will end on Sunday. I don't really understand the full reasons for the change as the reason given - that it takes 21 days to create a habit - was known before the programme started so it doesn't fully explain the sudden change. I'm feeling disappointed and ill at ease about the lack of support after the end of this week, particularly as I haven't started on reintroducing any of the eliminated foods yet. The high level of support has, in my opinion, been key to the programme but now the additional classes scheduled for next week are being brought forward and will be included in this week ... the only problem being that, despite many requests, they still haven't issue a revised timetable so we don't actually know when all the rescheduled classes are. The Facebook group will also be removed. It's unbelievable really, and even if they do finally get their act together and issue the revised schedule today it leaves very little time to re-organise commitments where necessary - in fairness, that's down to the admin staff and not the people running the classes but it is a real issue for myself and some of the others. On the plus side, but this may only be a plus for me, I won't have to attend any more goal setting classes! We were told in this morning's class that the class originally scheduled for next week will be run this Wednesday instead, but as it clashes with something else in my diary that I can't change, I will have to miss it. 

Today is set aside for housework and clearing a lot of small tasks on my to-do list. The housework won't take too long, just a quick whizz round with the hoover and duster and then see to the bathrooms, and that'll do for now as there are enough small tasks to keep me out of mischief for the rest of the day! I have a couple of parcels to post so I'll leave my walk until the Post Office is open and walk there and back instead of taking the car, and when I get back will work steadily through the rest of the list until I've done everything. I'm prioritising admin tasks as they are they ones preying on my mind and I'll feel much happier once they're done and out of the way.

And that's about it for today. I will fit in the usual piano and Italian practices plus a catch up call with my sister, but my focus is on clearing the to-do list!

Monday, 15 November 2021

Monday 15th November

I had a lovely weekend. As the weekend progressed I did less and less so now feel I need to buckle down and get a few essentials crossed off the to-do list!

The Tesco delivery arrived yesterday so that means a busy-ish day in the kitchen today, once I've done the goal setting class and also attempted to make an appointment with my doctor. Top of the list is to start off a soup in the slow cooker and a couple of casseroles in the oven, all to be frozen in portions for the freezer. I don't have a firm meal plan in mind for this week, which I need to sort out, but this will give me some options. I also have a couple of new-to-me recipes to try out as well, both cooked on the hob - Thai Chicken and Mushroom Soup, and Warm Lentil & Sweet Potato Salad. Once that's all started I'll settle down with a hot drink and knock out the meal plan for this week so that, while I'm in the mood, I can bulk cook anything else I'll need for this week's meal. One good thing about this 30 day programme is that it has encouraged me to add much more variety to the food I eat.

This afternoon is set aside for decluttering duties, though as I write this I'm not exactly sure what I'll be doing on that today. Which all sounds a bit vague but I will definitely spend some time on it. One bit of good new is that I spoke to my niece yesterday about her son who is learning to play the trumpet at school and it's been agreed that he can soon be the proud owner of my own instrument together with a huge stack of beginner level tutor books. That won't happen until the end of December though as it will be expensive to send so she will collect it when she visits over the Christmas break ... this won't add any money to the piggy bank but it will free up some more space next month!

I'm hoping to arrange something with J this week, maybe a walk together weather permitting. L is still poorly and not up to meeting socially but hopefully we'll be able to manage a phone chat at some stage during the week. 

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • meeting with K (for a healthy walk instead of cake!)
  • feeling much better than I have done in years
  • celebrating two of the many November birthdays - from the 7th November until the end of the month there are 9 birthdays, with 3 more in the first week of December
  • hearing the wonderful news that my friend's daughter is expecting her second child and, a wonderful coincidence, the new baby is due on my late partner's birthday!
  • deciding on some changes I want to include in my life
  • that there is still plenty of colour in the garden

I am grateful ...
  • for the opportunities that are presenting themselves
  • for friends and family who genuinely have my best interests at heart
  • for the bravery and sacrifices made by previous generations to preserve our way of life

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise: 
    • 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved at least 30 minutes each day
    • 30 minute workouts twice a week. Achieved (sort of!) 
    • 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved 
  • weight: 2 lbs loss over the last 11 days, plus a 4 inch reduction on my waist measurement 😀

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Saturday 13th November

So, tolerance testing. In brief, after 12 days of eliminating specific foods we can now start reintroducing them one at a time and the suggestion is to start with wheat as that's one of the five most common causes of food intolerance. The process is to add some wheat at breakfast, then if all is fine try some more wheat as part of your lunch, and then again with dinner - listen to your body and take notice of any symptoms, new or old, and stop immediately if there are any symptoms. Then wait two or three days and avoid wheat on those days, even if there are no obvious symptoms, as it can take that long for problems to become evident. From there, it may be a case of investigating by following the same process to see which form of wheat is the issue, e.g. some people can't eat bread but can eat couscous. We are still avoiding caffeine and red meats to start with but can eventually start adding red meats once a week if everything else has gone well. However, I can't start doing the testing yet. The need for everyone to consult your GP before tackling this, and especially if you have pre-existing health conditions, was stressed over and over again so I will need to contact the surgery on Monday before I think about starting this. I think my doctor is on holiday so won't be able to do anything until I've spoken to him ... it all seems like a bit of an anti-climax but the reaction to reintroducing one or more of the eliminated foods could be severe so I'll wait rather than risk it!

Apart from the two nutrition classes yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon playing the piano. I hadn't intended to but I lost all track of time so today is devoted to making a start on the next lot of decluttering. I did post the parcels, so they're on their way - two sales and one box of items for a quote - and during the evening I made a to-do list which is what I'll start on today. 

It's supposed to be a nice day, not too warm but it should be dry so I'll fit in a walk and get my fill of fresh air. I have a new curry recipe to try for tonight which fits in with the current eating restrictions so I won't need to tweak it at all, and then finish the day watching the Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Friday 12th November

It's the 12th day of the programme and today we'll be hearing about the next stage, which is tolerance testing. There was one change announced yesterday which means that we can now eat fruit at any time of the day - previously we'd been asked to limit ourselves to two portions of fruit a day with breakfast. There is still the requirement to have some protein with the fruit to help balance the blood sugar but I'm not sure if it is okay to have more than the two portions now. I'll check later today, but I hope so.

I've acquired some stronger boxes so will get those packed up and sent off today. That'll definitely be three boxes of stuff leaving the house. Looking at what's left I think I was over ambitious to think I'd be able to complete it all by December 1st but I haven't given up yet. I have that extra incentive now as I will need a larger budget for the replacement piano than I'd anticipated - it'll be great if I can finance it from the sales of decluttered items and it feels like an appropriate use of the money, not forgetting that the sales are also financing the replacement fencing as well.

So apart from the trip to the Post Office and the two online classes, the rest of the day is my own. I feel inclined to tackle a bit more of the decluttering, probably re-advertising some of the items that didn't sell and placing first time adverts for a pile of items that will hopefully sell well as Christmas gifts for people interested in Meccano and/or photography.

I'll watch the new series of Dalgliesh tonight. I watched the first two episodes on catch up and it seems to be a complete story over two episodes, so this will be part 2 of the new story - I watched part 1 last night. 

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Thursday 11th November

Yesterday ended up being a really satisfying day. The morning flowed nicely and my newish schedule seems to suit me. I started with a 30 minute walk around the house; this was before I was dressed and I'm doing it this way because it means I will definitely fit in a walk, no excuses, and on fine days I will try for an additional walk outdoors as well. I picked up some very useful suggestions relating to nutrition and migraines in the Nutrition class, some of which I've never considered before but I won't start investigating that aspect of life until I have completed the 30 day programme. 

The piano lesson was good fun. I played much better than I have done all week and after playing each piece even my inner critic (who can be very harsh!) thought it sounded good. C said she was quite happy for me to move on so I have two new pieces for this week with the option of doing a third one if I have time. These seem easier to play so I'm hopeful that I don't have a repeat of last week's frustration. I raised the subject of digital pianos and we spoke for a while about that. I had intended to replace mine in about a year's time but it looks like I may need to think about it sooner than that. One of the keys (the B next to middle C) has developed an intermittent fault and now sometimes doesn't sound when pressed so while it'll be okay for a while, it is time to start thinking about a replacement instrument. I'm not looking at the possibility of a repair because the current piano is about 20 years old and technology has advanced so much during that time. C suggested some makes and will help me make a choice, but for now I am looking online to see what's available in my price range. 

After lunch I went shopping but only bought enough to see me through the next few days. I have a delivery booked for Sunday so can add anything else I need to that. I changed my mind about buying everything yesterday because we start tolerance testing on Friday which may impact on what foods I can have during the next stage of the programme. It  did feel good to be out and about again and making my own selections cheered me up.

Today I don't have much planned. A walk around home first thing and then there is a programme related workout at 9am which I will do if I get home in time - I have a blood test first thing, thankfully not a fasting one so the exercise shouldn't be a problem as the class is only for 30 minutes. Then it's the Indian cookery at 1pm and today's recipe is Methi Murgh (Chicken Fenugreek Curry).  And I think that's it for planned activities for today. I'll fill the rest of my time with piano, Italian, reading and possibly some family tree research.

I've left the most important thing to the end of the post and, because it's the 11th day of November, it's time to wish Bless a very Happy Birthday. 

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Wednesday 10th November

I was invited to book an appointment for my Covid booster jab so now have that booked in. I went for the earliest date rather than the closest location and am now booked in for Saturday 27th November in Bath, so not too far to drive. I'll be glad to get it done. 

The decluttering didn't go too well yesterday ... I need stronger boxes. One pathetic phone call to a friend later and I will have some by the weekend at the latest. Everything is organised and bubble wrapped where necessary, so it'll just be a case of packing and addressing the boxes and taking them to the Post Office. It's frustrating but it is what it is, and it's only a few days to wait. I did send the photos off to the Hereford based company so now have to wait to see if they are interested. 

I don't think there is a specific class for the 30 day programme today but I do plan to do another 30 minute walk, most likely indoors as I am expecting a delivery this morning. It's the usual nutrition class at 10 am, talking about nutritional approaches to preventing migraines ... I'll be taking notes on this! That's followed by my piano lesson. Last week's had to be cancelled so it's be two weeks since the last lesson and I've truly had enough of the pieces I've been practicing. Frustratingly, even though I've had the extra week I still haven't 'got' one of the pieces - it's a relatively easy piece but there's one bar that trips me up, which unfortunately is the third bar of the piece and I hesitate before playing the rest of it. I might just cough loudly when I'm playing that bar and see if I can get away with it! 😂

This afternoon is set aside for a shopping trip. I need to do a top up shop but, if it's not too crowded, I may as well do a full shop while I'm in-store and cancel the delivery that's due on Sunday. I'm quite looking forward to choosing my own produce again and seeing if there's any new products that I fancy trying.  

It's episode 4 of Shetland tonight and before that's screened I'd like to catch up with last night's episode of 'Who Do You Think You Are?' - I think it was Pixie Lott this time. Any then a soak in the bath and an early night!

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Tuesday 9th November

After a slow start, yesterday turned out to be a productive day. I changed the bed, finished the washing and put it all away (no ironing needed!), hoovered carpets and cleaned bathrooms. Today is a free day as far as housework is concerned, so it was worth the effort.

The goal setting session was interesting and not as frustrating as she kept everyone muted, so the session flowed better. Hopefully, she'll take that approach for the remaining sessions as well. Barbara Dickson's session was good fun. She's trying to get us to attempt song writing, not to perform in public but for our own enjoyment at home. I've written simple instrumental pieces in the past when I was teaching but have never wanted to write a song, so doubt I will attempt this. I did enjoy all she had to say though, especially as she sang a folk song during this session ... I love her voice. 

I carried on with some decluttering in the evening. I've sorted out another load to send to the Vintage Cash Cow company so today I need to find a box to send that off, hopefully today. There's another lot to photograph for a different company to value - I'm not entirely sure that I will use the company if the price is acceptable as the cost of getting the items, all fairly heavy, to them in Hereford is likely to be very high but it is the closest company geographically for these items. As well as sending the photos I'll contact a carrier for a quote, so I have the information I need to make a decision. There's also a pile of things that I think should be returned to his family so need to find a box, check addresses, and get that send off as well. I think by the time I've finished, there will be another box or two for a charity shop donation. I'm hoping that after today's effort I will know exactly what still needs to be sold and can decide how to tackle it.

I'm not doing the programme workout today but will go for a walk as an alternative. It's been confirmed that this is acceptable so I'll fit in a 30 minute walk, most likely around the pathways that crisscross this part of the village. 

Monday, 8 November 2021

Monday 8th November

In the garden ...

It's been a quiet and relaxing weekend. I didn't stray far from home, just for a walk around the Marina on Sunday morning, but chose instead to spend my time reading and pottering. The outcome is that I feel better than I have felt for a long time, and most of the washing is done and put away.

Today has to be a busier day though. It's nice to indulge myself from time to time but I wouldn't want every day to be as quiet. I'm going out for an early morning walk and will try to do that every day this week. I'm aiming for 15 minute walks to start with and will gradually increase the distance as and when, depending on how my knee holds out. Then it's time to attack the housework - on the list for today is to change bed, do two loads of washing, hoover upstairs and make a start on the bathrooms. 

It's the second week of the 30 day programme and there will be tolerance testing after day 10 but I'm not sure yet what that involves or which of the things we eliminated is the first one to be tested. As I'm already dairy free, don't use sugar and am teetotal I think I'm having an easier time than some of the others as so far I've only had to eliminate wheat, caffeine and white potatoes, whereas the others have had to eliminate all six. I thought eliminating wheat, potatoes and caffeine was going to be more difficult than it's turned out to be and I have enjoyed a different way of eating. I think, from the changes and weight loss so far, I may be intolerant of one of the items I've eliminated but if that turns out to be the case, there are alternative for all of them so I'm not going to fret about it. It's the second goal setting session this morning! 

My joyful activity for today is listening to an online talk by Barbara Dickson. It's the second of three and if this is as good as the first one, I'm in for a treat. Sadly, she doesn't sing during the session but did give out lots of snippets about her life and career in the first one. The trio of talks is how music feeds our minds, bodies and souls, and how we can bring music back into our lives.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Weekly Reflections

Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • chatting with family and friends
  • being aware of some improvements from following the 30 day healthy eating and weight loss programme, and
  • being fortunate to have a one-to-one session with the nutritionist
  • getting back to reading every day, and
  • enjoying a few days without TV (but I will be catching up on programmes today!)
  • enjoying my visit to see Joy, and
  • appreciating a lovely gift of daffodil and narcissus bulbs from her 
  • removing some more of the decluttered items from the house
  • having more dates in the diary
  • closing the curtains and shutting out the rest of the world, feeling snug and safe in my own home

I am grateful ...
  • that my family now seem to be over their run in with Covid 
  • for central heating on chilly days
  • for the opportunity to take positive steps to improve my health

Lifestyle changes
  • exercise: 
    • 45 minutes daily walk. Achieved 15 minutes on 5 days 
    • 30 minute workouts twice a week. Achieved 
    • 20 minutes daily knee strengthening. Achieved 
  • weight: 1½ lbs loss over the last 7 days, plus a 3½ inch reduction on my waist measurement within the first 5 days 😀

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Saturday 6th November

I had a lovely relaxing day yesterday and have nothing planned for today. This means I don't know what to write about, so I won't! 

Back tomorrow x

Friday, 5 November 2021

Friday 5th November

Yesterday's HIIT workout session was more to my liking. I can't really explain why, and some of the others have said the same, but it was much calmer than the previous session. This particular instructor runs other sessions, not related to the 30 day programme, so I think I will do one of those instead of the Tuesday one.

There's very little in the diary for today, just the usual nutrition focus at 11am and a nutrition session for the 30 day programme this afternoon. I'm looking forward to a quiet day, just relaxing at home and doing whatever I fancy.

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Thursday 4th November

It was a fairly easy going day yesterday. The nutrition class was all about the best types of containers for safe use in the microwave and this was followed by a short nutrition session for the 30 day programme. This was just an opportunity for the nutritionist to see how we were all getting on, clarify any confusion and generally motivate us. I didn't bother with the style class - I'm pleased with all that I've learnt so far but these last few session feel like padding to fill the 12 weeks.

Today it's another 30 minute workout session at 9 am and then nothing else until the Indian cookery at 1pm. In between those two things I want to tackle the kitchen. Something spilled in the fridge which I wiped it up yesterday but it needs to be done properly, and it's as good a time as any to wipe down all the tiles and cabinet doors. I won't bother to do the bits of shopping I need because I think I can wait until next week, so I won't be going out at all today.

As for the rest of the day it'll be more of the usual - piano, Italian, reading - plus a couple of phone calls with friends thrown in for good measure. 

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Wednesday 3rd November

Well I survived the first workout session! I was more than anxious when the email with the access link described the session as HIIT but it was well organised and there were different exercises demonstrated at each stage and the participants chose the appropriate exercise for their level of fitness and whether they wished to be standing or seated. I wasn't looking forward to it but I did it, and it was (thankfully) only a 30 minute session. I know I need to exercise more, so on the days when there isn't an exercise session I will fit in a 30 minute walk instead.

A quick shower and a change of clothes later, I drove round to Joy's home and spent the rest of the morning enjoying her company. It feels like ages since we last met up, what with all the postponed and cancelled arrangement due to Covid risks so it was lovely to see her and to see her new library, which I may be a little jealous of!

The rest of the day was taken up with bulk cooking and I now have a good selection of soups in the freezer. I also made a couple of chicken curries and have frozen those in portions as well, leaving two portions in the fridge for later in the week. I'd have done this anyway as it is definitely soup weather but this time have tried out some new recipes to make sure I have some meals on hand that fit in with the advice we're being given. I have a few more recipes I'd like to try out but will need to do a bit more shopping first so that's either for this afternoon or tomorrow.

Today is the usual nutrition club followed by a short session with the nutritionist for the people who are following the programme. I think she'll be giving advice on dealing with cravings, which from the comments in the Facebook group, is something quite a few of the others are struggling with. There's no piano lesson today because of the additional short nutrition session and then it should be the style class but at the time of writing this, I'm not sure whether I will bother with it. From the look of the living room I think my time will be better used doing some housework!

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Tuesday 2nd November

The first goal setting session for the weight loss programme was interesting and frustrating in equal measures.  This is the same life coach whose classes I tried before but gave up because she keeps flitting between what she wants to say and answering question, often stopping mid sentence to comment on something else. Frustrating as that it, from my point of view, it was made worse because she allows participants to remain unmuted so there were additional interruptions as people asked questions or were speaking to someone else in the room with them. It all combined to make it hard to follow and I had a headache by the end of the session. Luckily I'm familiar with goal setting so was able to complete that part of the class. Today it's the first of the workout classes. I'm not sure what to expect but it's only for 30 minutes so I should be able to cope with that!

The food delivery didn't arrive until 9 pm last night, which serves me right for booking a flexible time slot! That means I didn't have time to do any food prep so that's my task for today. I'm seeing Joy this morning after the exercise class and once I get home I'll make a start on the bulk cooking - a new-to-me recipe for slow cooker chicken soup, a couple of curries, veggie chilli, and maybe some fish cakes. I revised my meal plan yesterday but still have to come up with some better breakfast options so will try to get that done today as well.

I've decided to give the TV a miss this week. I'm trying to reduce my screen time so, as this weight loss course adds an additional 3 - 4 hours online each week, something else has to go and it's the television. It'll be an evening of reading or listening to music, or maybe a bit of both.

Monday, 1 November 2021

Monthly Photo Challenge: Autumn

The theme for the October challenge was 'autumn'. The majority of my photos I've included in this post were taken on my phone - I can't get any of the images taken on my camera to load so I may post them later in the month if I can sort that problem out.   

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 November is 'Beginning with F' and I'll post a linky at the end of the month  Have fun! 

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

Monday 1st November

It doesn't feel like a Monday. Yesterday didn't feel like a Sunday. I can't quite work out why but I feel out of sorts with myself, not in a bad way, just lacking a bit of focus I suppose. I don't feel ill and I'm getting things done, just not the things I'd planned to do!

The 30 day healthy eating weight loss programme starts today. I've planned my meals for this week and included some new recipes to keep it interesting, so the need to exclude wheat and white potatoes doesn't feel too much of a hardship. I have everything I need for today's meals and the supermarket delivery is due tonight, which will set me up for the week. If the delivery arrives early enough I'll do some prep for the next few days and cook up some meals for the freezer. If not it's a task for tomorrow but whenever I do it, it will be time well spent as I stand more chance of sticking to the plan if I get myself organised.

It's the first goal setting session at 9am - I'm not sure whether this is limited to food issues/eating habits or to lifestyle in general, but either way it should be interesting. That's followed by the style class, only four more sessions including the one today, but I don't know whether I will bother with them. The course has been very interesting so far and I'm glad I've done it. I've learnt a lot and now have to implement my choices but don't feel the remaining sessions will be of much interest to me ... today we will discuss how to shop! I will sign in for today's session as I at least want to thank the course leader but unless she's changed the topics for the remaining sessions, today will be my last one.

Apart from that it's more of the usual - Italian and piano practices, decluttering (I have a couple of parcels to send out), some housework, and then shut the world out and lose myself in a book. Oh, and the food delivery tonight.