Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Day 61: Little Things ...

... please little minds! This is the message that greets me when I switch the engine on. My car says 'hello' to me!

P.S. Her name is Billie.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Day 60: A New Addition to the Family

Meet ???? .... well he hasn't got a name yet and I'm not sure whether it is a he or a she! So, meet my new car ...

The Clio was having too many expensive problems so had outstayed its welcome and it had to go. This is another Renault, a Twingo, with 2138 miles on the clock and a January 2017 plate. It was the Renault dealer's demo car and is the closest I'll ever get to a brand new car! My insurance worked out at the same price but the added bonus is that there is no car tax on this model!

It's the same size engine as before but a slightly smaller overall size, with the engine at the back this time. It has all the features I wanted with the additional (probably an essential requirement from now on!) of a colour reversing camera. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Day 59: My Sunday Photo

Taken from the back bedroom window earlier in the week, this is a straight-out-of-the-camera shot. The colours were so vibrant there was no need to edit.


Saturday, 14 October 2017

Day 58: Cosmos

There are plenty of buds on the cosmos, so flowers aplenty for the foreseeable future. 

Does anyone know how much longer they will flower before they give up for this year? 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Day 57: Retail Therapy in Bath

I've been looking for a new handbag for some time now but couldn't find anything suitable in Trowbridge so today I tottered off to Bath with L to see if I'd have more luck. I didn't buy a bag but did come home with three cardigans, two shirts and a top.

Here's a photo of the River Avon looking down towards Pultney Bridge.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Day 56: Computer Issues

I'm having problems with my laptop again so if I disappear for a few days, that'll be the reason. It starts to power up properly but then the screen stops working and although I can hear the process continuing, I can't see anything. If it doesn't correct itself (probably wishful thinking on my part), I'll have to get it repaired (hopefully) or buy a replacement (most likely!).

I don't have much to tell you today. I'll be teaching later this afternoon but until then I'm just amusing myself at home. My new Instant Pot arrived yesterday so I'm ploughing my way through the instruction manual before I attempt to blow up the kitchen cook with it. I used to use a pressure cooker many years ago, so should be okay with it! It is very big. I read the dimensions before I ordered, but as usual that information didn't translate into any spacial understanding, so I will have to move things around in the kitchen to find space to store it. 

Today's photo shows the buds of the potato vine.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Day 55: Potato Vine

This is the large climber on the front of the house which will be moved to the back garden next year. It's just too fast growing for its current position and keeps covering the vent for the boiler. In the back garden I'll encourage it to grow horizontally along the side fences and it can grow to it's heart's content!

It was a busy and somewhat frustrating morning. At the committee meeting on Monday I agreed to resume the position of Treasurer and have had the frustration of dealing, or trying to deal with HSBC, who have consistently blocked every enquiry. I went into the local branch at their request only to be told that they couldn't deal with it in branch and I needed to phone in, but the telephone enquiry team wouldn't deal with me as they said I need to speak to the local branch! I will try again tomorrow when hopefully different, more co-operative staff, will be able to help me.

This afternoon I met with Lyn to see Victoria and Abdul at the local Odeon. If you haven't seen it yet I can definitely recommend it. We have plans to try Nordic Walking next, something that's been on my list for a long time. Lyn is going to arrange a taster session/course for us and we'll see how we get on!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Day 54: Wisteria Lane

This is buddleia wisteria lane, where the flowers droop to mimic the growth of a wisteria. I couldn't get the colour right today ... it's actually the pale lilac of a wisteria and not the pinky colour I've managed to capture.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Day 53: The Front Garden

I tend to forget about the front garden when looking for subjects for photos so I'll remedy that this week and feature some of the plants. Today it's the turn of the hebes - they've all done well and are now flowering.

I've just got home from lunching with a friend in Lacock, which is very close to the Whitehall Garden Centre and we somehow ended up leaving the pub early and driving to the garden centre to look for bulbs and winter plants ... she is a bad influence on me! I've arrived home with loads of bulbs and violas which now need to be planted. 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Day 51: Signs of Autumn

I've been busy with band things all day, so just a quick post to share my daily photo - the honeysuckle is covered in berries.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Day 50: Steps!

I'm feeling much better today. In fact I was well enough to do all my lessons yesterday afternoon, but ended up feeling completely drained. After an early night I'm fighting fit again.

Maybe not fit enough to use the step board you can see in the photo though. It's set up in the spare bedroom and my plan is to use it as a means of completing a second block of exercise on most days, maybe for ten minutes at a time. I managed five minutes today before my legs had had enough and I had to admit defeat! 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Day 49: Recovering!

I had another very disturbed night with very little sleep and a lot of pain and vomiting ... yet another migraine! Unfortunately the migraine was well established before I woke for the first time so, although I took the medication, it was too late for it to be completely effective. 

I'm up and about now and just about to try my first hot drink - just boiled water, not coffee for now. I liked the shadows from the blinds, hence my choice of photo for today.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Day 48: Mornings (continued)

In response to an email received yesterday, I don't feel the need to control my time to such a degree that I have a timetable for the entire day with each 30 minute slot allocated to a specific activity. I don't have any routine for the period in between breakfast and lunch from choice and don't plan to ever have one. I'm the sort of person who needs an element of routine in my life but feel that I have enough with my start to the day (see yesterdays post), the teaching commitments for three periods during the week, and the band practices on Saturday mornings.

Mornings are my pottering about time, usually around my home or garden, doing bits of housework, listing things for sale, lesson planning, preparation for band practice, paperwork and checking emails and blogs. Very little is written in stone and I'll quite happily abandon all of this to meet a friend for coffee and/or lunch, or maybe choose to spend time taking photos. The dreaded migraines are increasing in frequency, so mornings could be spent reading and resting until the medication kicks in and I start to feel better. Whatever I choose to do, it's a case of 'going with the flow' - I generally keep busy(ish) and things that need to be done are getting done so, as things stand at present, I'm happy with my approach. Oh, and of course there are plenty of coffee breaks! 

I try to take my daily photo for Project 365 during the morning even if I don't get round to writing the blog post until later. I was pleased to see so many bees around the cosmos this morning ...

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Day 47: Mornings

My morning routine is gradually evolving and the start of the day is becoming calmer and less stressful. That may sound a bit fanciful but it's an important self-realisation and a step forward in overcoming the depression.

I now very rarely set an alarm and I allow myself to wake up when ready. Overcoming the mind set that I had to get up early and start the day has been the hardest part. The truth is that, except for Saturdays when I need to get to band on time, I don't need to up early so instead of the previous 6:30 am alarm, I now wake sometime between 7:30 am and 8:30 am.

My first thing is to complete 30 minutes of exercise, which I've settled on doing around my home. I don't bother to get dressed, I just get on and do it.  It sounds like an horrendous start to the day but it works for me. This means that before my day has started properly I have over a third of my daily steps target completed and I sort of feel ahead of the game. Removing the need to leave the house has also removed the anxiety I was experiencing, a feeling which stayed with me for most of the day.

When I've finished, I shower and get dressed and then have breakfast. Breakfast is also an opportunity to read for 30 minutes or so, a time to sit, eat and relax. I'm trying to be strict with myself and eat all meals at the table, but quite often I curl up on the sofa for breakfast! Then, fed and watered, I feel ready to face the day!

Today's photos shows the thank you gift from the girls after Friday's excursion to buy new laptops. The other two have theirs now as well.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Day 46: Gladioli 3

Please ignore the mess in the background! It's just started raining so I can't go back out and take an 'out of focus background shot' which is what this one was supposed to be! I don't have much yellow in the garden, which is something I need to remedy next year. I'll have daffodils and crocus, but any suggestions for a small shrub with yellow flowers will be very much appreciated.

I'm meeting a friend for lunch in Lacock, but it doesn't look too promising for any photos of the village today. I'm turning into a fair weather photographer!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Day 45: Gladioli 2

This is the one that I decided against staking as I thought it was blind. To show me how wrong I was, it is now growing horizontally and just generally getting in the way! 


Saturday, 30 September 2017

Day 44: Gladioli

Another gladioli is flowering (at long last!) and if you look carefully, you can see that a yellow one will soon be in full flower. It took them long enough!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Day 43: Shopping for Laptops

A rainy start to the day but at least it shows the paving at its best!

I only had two recorder clubs to run at lunchtime and then I collected Lauren to go shopping for a replacement laptop for her. Who knew there were so many difference specifications to choose from! Thankfully she had some idea what she wanted and is now back in her own home getting to grips with her new toy!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Day 42: The Last Leaf

The last euonymus leaf, desperately holding on. The euonymus needs to be in a larger pot but I don't know when I should do this. Is it now, as the plant settles into it's dormant period or do I wait until spring when it starts its next season's growth? Any suggestions, please?

I have a quiet morning at home for which I'm thankful as I've woken up with a cold.  I only have one school lesson to teach this afternoon (at 2:30) and then three private lessons, so will be back home by 5:30ish. I'm staying in this evening as I need to get on and finish this month's book group read - 'The Trouble With Goats and Sheep' by Joanna Cannon. I've been wanting to read this for ages and it was my choice for the group to read but, so far,  I haven't enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. I'm about half way through so there's still time for things to change.

I'm not wearing my glasses as I type this. I'm sitting at the dining room table and can see plenty of bird activity in the garden - I think they're one of the tit family but it's all a bit blurred so that's a guess! I bet they'll disappear as soon as I get my camera!

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Day 41: A Fitbit Update

At the moment my focus is on completing my daily target of steps, currently set at 8,000, and on completing a period of exercise lasting at least 30 minutes on at least 6 days each week. So far, except on days I've had a migraine, I've met my target. I've deliberately set my targets low so that I can achieve them as, if I fail to meet them too often I know I'll give up. Most of my interests are sedentary so completing at least 8,000 steps each day is an achievement and now I've become more used to moving regularly, I'm easily taking over 10,000 steps each day. I have no plans to change my target on the fitbit in the near future but in my mind I am going for the 10,000 - I know I'm kidding myself, but it's working!

The target of a 30 minutes exercise period on at least 6 days a week is the one which requires the most effort and I usually do this by walking around the house and/or garden before I have my breakfast. This means that I have done about a third of my daily step target before my day has really started. My day off from this is the Saturday as band practice starts early so I don't always have time, and know that I won't want to do it when I get home. Ideally, I'd go out for a walk every day but I still have a lot of days when I can't face going out of the house (unless I'm teaching or meeting someone), so exercising around the home is a good compromise. If I feel able, then I'll do another walk around the village or along the canal later in the day.

My favourite feature on the fitbit is the reminder to move at least once an hour. I've set my day as 9 am to 6 pm so, if I haven't taken at least 250 steps during each hour, the fitbit vibrates 10 minutes before the hour is up as a reminder to move. According to the blurb in the help documents, moving for short periods at least once an hour can reduce the negative effects on a person's health of sitting for long periods of time. Movement, as in walking and climbing stairs, is definitely easier even after only one month of exercise, and that's something which will continue to to improve.

You can also use the fitbit to monitor your weight. I'm not using this feature yet, but will get round to it eventually. I still need to lose weight but am waiting until the depression is less of an issue - there are much bigger problems to focus on first. I'm aware of slight changes to my body shape already, just from the regular exercise, with clothes feeling looser than before.

If anyone is thinking of getting a fitbit, I'd wholeheartedly recommend it. I'm kicking myself for dithering so long about buying one as I can honestly say that it has been a life changer for me. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Day 40: A Teaching Day

I've finished all the presentations/workshops for the band so it's back to the normal routine, although I have no idea what the 'normal' routine is since I gave up most of my teaching commitments. Today is definitely a teaching afternoon in my Trowbridge school working with years 1 and 2. It's changed from last year as I used to teach years 3 and 4 as well but I'm happy with the change and am looking forward to just working with the younger ones - less crowd control and more making music and experimenting with rhythms. It'll be fun.

Later today we're going to an early screening of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and then for a meal. 

That leaves me with the morning free to do whatever I fancy. Some housework actually got done yesterday ... I know, I couldn't believe it either! I sorted out both freezers, including defrosting the small one in the kitchen as the door has been difficult to close since it iced up completely following something a friend did to the thermostat. I also emptied a couple of kitchen cupboards to clean them out and did a couple of loads of washing. 

Here's today's photo ... I love the autumn colours.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Day 39: It's Raining Again ...

... which has given me the chance to photograph some webs for the scavenger hunt. It's too wet to consider working in the garden today so it's another day indoors, probably tackling some housework unless I can come up with something more interesting to do!

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Day 38: My Sunday Photo

honeysuckle berries


Saturday, 23 September 2017

Day 37: Sammy

Meet Sammy, my neighbour's cat. We have an ongoing battle, which I'm winning! The previous owners of my home used to let him indoors but lots of my family have allergies so I don't allow him in. He is still very determined, even though he's only made it indoors once during the four years I've lived here. Sometimes he sits as close to my front door as he possibly can and visitors have to step over him to get into the house whilst making sure he stays firmly on the outside.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Day 36: A Bit Grumpy!

I've woken up with the grumps and just want the week to be over. I've not been sleeping well and that, together with the extra work of the band presentation, has just about finished me off! I only have a couple of recorder clubs to run at lunchtime today, which are always good fun, so thankfully not much effort is required of me today.

A quick walk around the garden this morning revealed that the honeysuckle has a few (very) late flowers. It finished flowering about six weeks ago.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Day 35: Take Three Thursday

Three more photos from the Harry Potter tour for Mary Lou's Take Three Thursday, all with the common theme of Dumbledore.

Dumbledore in the Great Hall
Dumbledore's office
the entrance to Dumbeldore's office

This morning it's raining and very windy, leaving the patio covered with leaves

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Day 34: Family Tree

I've finished all the the presentations and workshops in the local primary schools for this term so fingers crossed that we get some new band members on Saturday. Then it will all have been worthwhile! 

I'm worn out from all the effort of the last couple of weeks so will be glad of a couple of quiet days before the weekend. I have to teach tomorrow and Friday but not for long each day and I don't have anything else organised, so will spend most of my time relaxing at home.

I didn't make it to the theatre last night. In the end I gave my ticket to a friend and spent some time instead with J as it was her birthday ... a much better end to the day. We're going out next week to do a proper celebration, so yesterday was just coffee, cake and jelly babies (!) and time to chat. 

The updated family tree software has arrived so I can get on with the research ... something to look forward to on the cold, dark evenings once the clocks change next month.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Day 33: Rushing Around!

A wet start to the day, but it's cheered up now. I've had a very busy morning and am looking at an even busier afternoon, all to do with presentations in local primary schools for new band members. 

I'm supposed to be going to the theatre tonight but, although I have the ticket, I don't have the energy so it's looking very doubtful.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Day 32: Mirabilis Jalapa

Here's another photo of the Mirabilis jalapa. It's a fascinating plant as there are different coloured flowers on each plant and some of those flowers also change colour through their blooming period. Saying that, I'm not convinced that it has a permanent place in my garden as it is mostly leaves and, fascinating as the flowers are, they're small and only open for part of the day. 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Day 30: Euonymus

Part of the town centre is flooded this morning, the basement where we store the band instruments has pools of water all over the place and the lift is out of action so we had to carry all the equipment via the stairs. However, it's not all bad news - the euonymus has survived last night's storm and has retained all of its leaves. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Day 29: Unwelcome Visitors

It's that time of year again, isn't it. I woke up to this unwelcome visitor and two of his friends having a party in my kitchen, so not the best start to the day! 

This one was enormous! It was so big that a drinking glass was too small to fit over it so I had to use the big glass measuring beaker. I'm obviously getting braver because after the initial heart attack type panic, I was composed enough to take a photo before I dealt with it. I wasn't composed enough to get it properly in focus though! I put the three of them out on the patio so the house, as far as I can tell, is a spider free zone once again. Blogger is doing strange things to the photos again - the walls are white!

Yesterday turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable day. It's always good fun to hear what the children have been up to during the summer break and I was pleased that they'd all restarted their practice schedules as soon as school started. It was all about deciding on their targets for the next few months and, the biggest decision, choosing the new pieces of music to learn. They always get to choose one piece themselves and this time the girls have all chosen different Disney songs, one boy has chosen Star Wars and the other has gone for Lord of the Rings. It's going to be an interesting time!

I have a fairly quiet day today with just a lunchtime recorder club to run. I'd normally come straight home but my youngest learner will be having a music certificate presented in assembly and she wants me to be there to watch, so I'll be hanging about for a couple of hours. If it stays dry I'll have a look around Avebury, if it's raining I'll read my book in the staff room. It's not the best use of my time but she worked so hard to get this certificate and she is desperate for me to be there, even though I'd already presented the certificate to her at the end of last term in front of her family! 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Day 28: Back to School

It's my first day back at school today. I've been visiting local schools for the band workshops but today I actually have to teach! I'm sure I'll be okay once I get started, but admit to feeling less than enthusiastic as I'm typing this post.

Today's photo is another one of the mystery flowers I posted about here, except it is no longer a mystery because I found the label (as usual, the label was exactly where it was supposed to be, but was hiding when I was looking for it the first time!!). It's Mirabilis jalapa, also called the 'Miracle of Peru' or the '4 o'clock flower'.

It's also time for Mary Lou's Take Three Thursday so I'm sharing three more photos from the Harry Potter tour, all showing the inside of building and which may be used for no. 7 of the scavenger hunt - the inside of something. My apologies for the strange lighting in them; there are film studio lights on all the exhibits and in a few of my photos from the day I've picked up a blue cast which I can't get rid of.

a corridor in the Leaky Cauldron
Gryffindor boy's bedroom
Hagrid's hut

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Day 27: After the Storm

I didn't get much sleep last night once the storm started. It wasn't so much the sound of the rain hitting the plastic covering on my neighbour's shed, or the roar of the wind ... it was all down to the awful racket from someone's wheelie bin blowing around in the storm. The problem was eventually resolved by a thoroughly annoyed neighbour (not the owner of the wheelie bin) retrieving the offending bin ... I could tell he was annoyed by his very creative use of the English language as he wrestled with the bin! I was wide awake by then and didn't get much more sleep, so am happy to have another day at home. 

I opened the blinds to blue skies and a gentle breeze and luckily took some photos first thing, as now it is pouring down and any photography would be out of the question.There hasn't been much damage to the garden at all as today's photo of the cosmos shows. The only damage was that one of the climbers had pulled away from its trellis in places (now sorted), and one of the stones near the crab apple tree has blown over and flattened two crocosmia plants. 

I managed to get everything done yesterday. I decided that I wouldn't take on any extra pupils after I met the parents, mostly due to the behaviour of the children who kept opening the cupboards in my music room and wouldn't stop when asked to by me ... the parents made no attempt to discipline their children!

I'm not sure what I'll get up to today. I want to make some more soup for the freezer and I have to prepare the vegetables for a mid-week roast tonight, but apart from that it'll just be a case of 'see what happens'. I hope you all have a good day and the weather is kind to you wherever you are.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Day 26: Here and There!

Just a quick post today as I overslept and am trying to catch up with myself. Today's photo was taken in the garden, where I was expecting to see lots of damaged plants after yesterday's winds and rain. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to see very little damage and lots of new buds. Nature never ceases to amaze me.

It's going to be a 'here and there' sort of day with little time for a breather between appointments. I have a couple of private lessons, a band presentation in a village primary school and a trip to Corsham to drop of some cornets for repair. I'm also having lunch with a friend, need to be back home to receive a parcel delivery during the designated time, and am meeting with other parents to discuss the possibility of teaching their children.

Roll on tonight!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Day 25: A Day of Leisure!

I don't really intend to do too much today. I started to feel ill as the day progressed yesterday and ended up calling it a day by about 4 pm. I've had a good night's sleep and feel much improved, though not completely back to normal. A pamper day at home should sort me out.

Anyway, a quick peek out of the window doesn't really encourage any outdoor adventures today ... it's cold, wet and windy out there, so I'm going to stay snug and warm indoors.

Sunday, 10 September 2017