Thursday, 27 April 2017

Take Three Thursday

Organised by Mary-Lou @ Patio Postcards, this is her weekly meme to share three photos which have a common theme. My photos are of three varieties of thyme I've acquired for my garden - Highland Cream, Doone Valley and Pink Chintz.

Thank you for organising this link up, Mary-Lou.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Busy Doing Nothing

It's a day at home for me today which is just as well because it is bitterly cold out there. I don't 'do' cold! The heating has been turned back up and I'm snuggled up in a comfort blanket as I type this, but I'm still shivering and desperately hoping that it isn't another bout of the dreaded lurgy.

I'm waiting in for a delivery, due either today or tomorrow, of something special for my garden and once it's here and planted I'll do the photos to show you what's been happening in the garden. Does this cold spell mean that I should hold back on the planting until the weather improves?

We had plenty of rain last night so the garden has had the watering it deperately needed. I could hear a constant dripping and eventually tracked it down to a leak where the down pipe connects to the gutter so that's something else I need to get sorted, but will hopefully be the last 'outside' thing demanding money for a while. 

I'd planned to get on with the sorting/decluttering (I'm just doing little bits at a time to nibble away   at the seemingly endless number of boxes still to clear) but have decided instead on a doing-nothing-except-reading-eating-and-relaxing day. It feels like a much better use of my time!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A Nice Problem To Have!

I'm not complaining, but I have too many books! Despite sending the majority of Ced's books to the National Trust at Lacock for their fundraising and also donating over 100 paperbacks to the BookBarn, I still have way too many. I also did a ruthless purge and passed on loads of books I'm unlikely to ever read to friends. However I finally had to admit that maybe, just maybe, it's a bit of a problem when I found myself searching online for new bookcases. 

I decided to add a smallish one to the third bedroom after it's decorated (won't be long!) and then to be strict about the books I keep. Happy with my decision, I settled down for the evening when the doorbell rang ... it was my brother-in-law with another delivery of books from my sister!

I may need a bigger bookcase but, as I said in the title of this post, it's a nice problem to have!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Memos, Mail, Me on Monday

For the first time in ages, here's a wave to Sian and all the other Mondayers on this lovely Monday morning.

I'll start with the 'new' things which, of course, are to do with the garden.  It's not a complete reveal but if you read yesterday's post you'll know that I was going to the local garden centres ... this is what I bought. I'll list all the names in my garden post later this week.  The two roses, different varieties but both white, have been planted but the rest has been placed around to see if I like the arrangement. With a few tweaks, they'll be planted later today.

Moving on to the interesting mail, I received the results of my Ancestry DNA test on Saturday. There's no real surprises with the largest percentage showing ancestry from Great Britain and West Europe - my sister commented that we are more British than our Royal family! A family story is that one ancestor was a Spanish sailor from the Armada who came ashore and settled in England and the DNA results show a percentage as originating from the Iberian Peninsula - a very small percentage, i.e. 2%, but I'm claiming that as a possibility even though I have absolutely no documentary evidence to back up the claim! The best part of the results is it provides links to others who share, or may share, a common ancestry; my results show 98 people who have links with my own family. I've had a quick look at some of them and can easily identify a few but on others, all showing a high probability, I can't see an obvious common relative so I'm hoping that this will be a route into discovering the ancestry line I've struggled with. 

I've nothing else to talk about so I'm off to the garden centre again. I don't really like the pebbles in the gaps at the edge of the paving (wrong colour, and I think it'll look 'more finished' if it's some sort of pea shingle) so I'm off to see what else is available. Then I have a couple of hours teaching and will finish off with some photography if the weather holds - we're due rain later today. I hope you all have a good week whatever you have planned and I'll be round to read your posts later tonight.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

A Photo An Hour | Saturday 22nd April 2017

Organised by Louise @ duck in a dress and Jane @ is that you darling, yesterday was the day chosen to take a photo an hour throughout the day.

7 am (ish) | my day started at silly o'clock. I'd been awake and pottering about for a couple of hours before I remembered to take a photo for 'a photo an hour'.

8 am | in the middle of doing the previous night's washing up. I'd been too tired to bother with it after a great evening with friends who came round to see the progress on the garden, and which went on a lot later than any of us had planned! 

9 am | I've been shopping (ran out of bread!) and have just finished putting it all away. This is my current favourite owl shopping bag hanging on the door handle to remind me to put it back in the car.

10 am | out in the garden, filling the gaps at the edge of the new paving with pebbles. The pebbles were in the garden before and were bagged up and stored in the garage, so this was a simple job and I managed to get about half of it done - I'll need some help from my nephew to finish it as I can't reach/move the remaining bags of pebbles.

11 am | L, the landscaper is back to finish off the grouting - his last job in the garden. This is a sneak preview for you ... I'll do a proper post about it later in the week.

12 pm | moving some of the empty pots out of the garage where they've been stored. 

1 pm | waiting for the kettle to boil and indulging in an after lunch maple and pecan danish pastry - my reward to myself for working in the garden in the morning!

2 pm | playing 'word with friends' on the iPad.

3 pm | back out in the garden enjoying the sunshine and taking some photos - here's the shadow of some leaves against the fossilised ones in the stone and the (out of focus!) green ones in the front!

4 pm | looking for ideas for planting.  I'm hitting the local garden centres today (Sunday).

5 pm | relaxing on the sofa with a coffee and my latest book.

I fell asleep so missed the photos for 6 pm and 7 pm!

8 pm | the final job in the garden - watering the plants. 

This was the final photo for the day. I had a soak in the bath and then planned to read in bed but actually fell asleep and slept through the entire night, not waking until 6 o'clock this morning.

Plans for today include meeting J for breakfast at the newly refurbished Leyker's Coffee Bar in town and then a potter round the local garden centres. 

Many thanks to Louise and Jane for organising this monthly link up.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Yoo Hoo, It's Only Me ....

.... I'm back! Hopefully!

Apologies for my prolonged absence but I've been ill, constant bouts of the bug that laid me low at Christmas.  I've had lots of sick days, though have managed to keep up with my teaching commitments, but apart from that I simply haven't had any energy  for anything else. If I've not been teaching I seem to have been sleeping, so lots of things have fallen by the wayside, this blog being one of them. Physically, I'm almost back to normal but emotionally am still not right. I'd been hovering on the brink of crossing the line into depression before Christmas but the inevitable happened and I'm now focusing on putting this latest depressive illness behind me. I still have a way to go but do feel that I'm making progress. I have the support of the people around me and my doctor is aware of the situation so I'm as optimistic as I can be, that this aspect of my life will improve soon.

Despite being ill and having no energy, exciting things have been happening in the garden so I have lots to tell you but that's for later in the week. I also have my camera out for the first time in months and will be back with an update tomorrow - it's 'a photo an hour' today and I'm joining in for the first time in I don't know how long. So I need to go and do things so my photos aren't too boring!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Take Three Thursday

Hurray!  A new photo meme, this one organised by Mary-Lou over at Patio Postcards, where we are asked to take three photos with a common theme.

My selection is also for the WPSH - No 3. | key showing three different items which are all called keys - piano keys, keys on a ring and clarinet trill keys.

A big thank you to Mary-Lou for organising this.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt

On Monday afternoons I visit Little Miss C to teach her to play the recorder. I took my camera with me yesterday in the hope that I'd find some photos for the hunt and, once I'd explained what it was all about, she hunted around and found a good selection for me. 

No 5 | fur or feather, here's a photo of Henry, one of their cats. 

No. 9 | diamond, here's Little Miss C modelling her mum's engagement ring.

No 15 | hands, a selection of poses by Little Miss C and Little Miss H.  These cost me a fortune as I had to pay them a modelling fee - they are saving up to buy two hamsters and all the cages and food!

No 19 | bird feeder, found in their neighbour's garden

Monday, 20 February 2017

Memos, Mail, Me

A cheery Monday evening wave to Sian and all the other Mondayers. It was a rushed start to the day with the gas man turning up half an hour earlier than expected.  Luckily I was up and dressed, though I hadn't had my first mug of coffee or any breakfast, but for some reason his early arrival messed up my morning and I couldn't get my act together!

The gas pipe has now been removed and the resulting hole in the wall will be made good when I get round to the work on my bedroom and en-suite; that needs a plasterer and he will be able to make good the living room walls at the same time.  There will be another hole in the hall to sort as well because next month I'm having the control for the central heating updated to a WiFi controller (which will allow me to program different on/off times for each day of the week) and the existing wall mounted control in the hall will be removed.

So, on to the happy mail .... there's only one thing to tell you about this week.

I've decided to do the Ancestry DNA test to discover my ethnic origins. I've provided the saliva sample and sent it back but have to wait 6 - 8 weeks for the results. Has anyone else thought of doing this? I've dug out all the work on the family tree and plan to continue once I've had time to look through and decide what to do next. I let my Ancestry subscription expire but luckily they are currently offering 50% off the annual fee so that's reduced it to a much more reasonable price. I'm looking forward to delving into all the records again; it's surprising how much you can find out about previous generations.

Sunday, 19 February 2017


Today has been all about the front garden, visits to the garden centres, cold winds and steaming mugs of hot coffee! And supervising! 

B, my newly found gardener, has been absolutely brilliant. He's advised on suitable plants, chosen healthy specimens and has done the planting and relaying of gravel. I ordered one plant online which hasn't arrived yet and there's still a few more of the ones I bought today to be planted and the trellis to be fixed on the wall, so I won't do the before and after photos in this post ... you'll have to wait.

I'm indoors now, warming up and I've only been outside to see the results of his labours and to help with the clearing up ... he must be frozen! I still have to move some of the furniture in the living room to make space for the gas man to remove a gas pipe tomorrow morning but once I've done that I can settle down for the evening. I want to watch 'The Big Painting Challenge' on BBC1 and then finish reading my book ... see if my guess on 'who done it' is correct!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Getting Back To Normal ...

... whatever normal is! Today is the first day I've really felt like doing anything. I was half hoping to go for a walk and take some photos but it's been raining on and off all day so far, so I settled for a day at home catching up with things.

It's half term so no teaching commitments this week and I hadn't made any firm plans to meet with family or friends, so today has been all about catching up with things around the house. I've washed the floor in the kitchen/dining room and am finishing off the laundry; there's only one more load to do and there's not too much to iron this time, but the ironing can wait until tomorrow.

I've sorted out some more unwanted paperwork. I don't know where it's all coming from but hopefully I'm nearing the end! It does mean that there is some shredding to do though, a task I really dislike for some reason, but I'm going to be grown up about it and not put it off - I'm hoping to get that done some time tomorrow. Once it's done I'll organise a skip run; I have the old integrated fridge and some odds and sods to dispose of plus a few sacks of garden waste. L has offered to help me with that job.

I treated myself to a soup maker and have been busy trying out different recipes, all of which I've enjoyed.  It makes about four portions at a time so the freezer now has a health stock of assorted soups to keep me going. I have all the ingredients for bolognese sauce, chilli, and shepherd pies so I'll be cooking those up later today or tomorrow to add to my existing stock of freezer meals.  I start back teaching next week and am bound to be tired so I'm planning ahead to make sure I can eat quickly and healthily when I get home, rather than resorting to takeaways. 

The weather forecast looks more promising for tomorrow so I've arranged to go for a walk in the morning and then, hopefully, some photography in the afternoon. Then I need to clear a space in the living room before Monday, when an unwanted gas pipe is to be capped and removed. I've already moved some of the furniture but there are two really heavy pieces to move so I'll be asking my neighbour or one of my nephews for some help.

Apart from that, the only other thing happening is that work is starting on the tiny front garden on Sunday. I've ordered on plant online (because it was on special offer - £10 instead of the usual £30) but I'll tell you what it is when it arrives. It's the only delivery I'm expecting so I need to save the details for a Monday post! I'll be buying the rest of the plants on Sunday at the local garden centre; the gardener is coming with me to advise on suitability and select healthy specimens, etc. He is also carrying everything, although I'm not sure that he actually realises that! I don't know if it'll be finished on Sunday but I'll post photos once it is done.

I can't think of anything else to waffle on about so I'll finish for now ..... and maybe just snuggle up on the sofa with a coffee and finish reading my book.

Friday, 10 February 2017

I Have a Feeling ....

... that 2017 is going to be a tough year. I'm still struggling to get over the bug I had at Christmas and seem to have spent most of this year in bed, sleeping.

This week has seen a bit of an improvement so I'm hoping to catch up with the blog over the next week.

Back soon x

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Not Again!

I should have known better ... tempting fate by saying I was feeling better! I had to abandon the idea of working on Monday - the drive home was dreadful, I had to keep stopping - and it was straight to bed for me as soon as I got back. Tuesday and Wednesday plans had to be cancelled but I did manage to get up middayish on Tuesday and was up for most of Wednesday, although an indication of how I was feeling is that Wednesday passed in a blur of daytime TV and Facebook.

I feel tons better today but am still going to take it easy until I'm really sure I'm over it. So personal goals, plans and challenges are on the back-burner for a while and I'm going to focus on getting plenty of rest and taking better care of myself. The jobs I've scheduled that are to be carried out by tradesmen will still go ahead, but everything I was going to do myself will be left until next month at the earliest. Teaching, band practice and two theatre trips will hopefully still happen but the rest of my time in the foreseeable future will be spent doing as little as possible!

It's miserable being ill at the best of times but, living alone and being so ill has definitely been no fun at all!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Memorandum Monday

Monday morning greetings to Sian and the rest of the Mondayers. A new year and a new focus for this meme, with a post about any interesting mail received during the week. I'm not sure what we're supposed to be calling these posts now so have stuck to 'Memorandum Monday' until someone points me in the right direction.

I had lots of junk mail and a few renewal letters but I won't bore you with those. I'm going to share a photo of my only piece of interesting fun mail and let you know what I'm up to.

It's okay, you're not seeing things ...... it is a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone translated into Latin! I decided to brush up on my Latin translation skills which, considering I only know a few verbs and the odd word or so, is going to be more demanding than originally thought.  When I say 'originally thought' I'm being rather generous in describing the brain power employed when deciding that this was something I wanted to do, as it's quite clear that I didn't think it through at all! Still never say never, I will give it my best shot - Google is my friend in this endeavour, I feel. I'm not completely stupid though -  I have modified my ambition and will now aim to translate the first chapter!

To finish, I'll share some good news from my sister. The cancer hasn't spread, she doesn't need chemo but will have to take tablets for the next five years. Fantastic news!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

I Spoke Too Soon!

I spoke too soon when I said I was over the Christmas lurgy ... as soon as I was telling everyone I was fine and back to normal, it crept up on me again and the only option was bed rest. So (whispering) .... I seem to be okay again now.  I went to band on Saturday and will be back to work tomorrow. This has had an obvious knock-on effect on my January goals but there's still plenty of time so I'm feeling positive about completing two of them, and possibly all three, by the end of the month.

The replacement of the integrated fridge is behind schedule as the delivery was cancelled by the supplier due to lack of drivers! I cancelled the order and will be going to collect a fridge from a local store this week and then I have to rearrange the installation date, which may or may not be this month, depending on whether N's baby has been born. It's in hand anyway, so won't be delayed for too long.

Moving the boxes out of the smallest bedroom is way behind schedule but there are still enough days left in the month to get this done. I may have to ask friends to help now. 

The third goal for January was to get the decking removed and ....

.... trumpet fanfare ....

it's done:

It looks a bit of a mess doesn't it? My original idea was to live with it like this for a month or so to decide whether I wanted the new patio to be raised to the height of the decking (i.e. so that there isn't a step down from the french doors), or whether I preferred to go for a patio at the lower level (i.e. the height of the flagstones you can see in the photo, which will need a step down from the french doors). As soon as the decking was removed, the decision was a no-brainer - it'll be the lower level for the patio as this seem to open up the garden. So to move this project on the next step I need to arrange for a quote for laying the patio, which I hope to get around to sometime next week.

I'm already thinking about what I can choose for my February goals!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Back to Normal

It's surprising how quickly you get back into your normal routine, isn't it? A few minutes after arriving at the school yesterday, I'd forgotten all about the holiday and everything was back to normal. The children were excited to show me what they'd been practicing (although 'practicing' probably wasn't the correct description for most of them!) and I enjoyed a perfectly wonderful afternoon taking enjoyment from their pleasure in their achievements.

This morning it was more of the same as it was back to regular Saturday morning practices for the Youth Band, this time in our new home. It was lovely to see everyone and to catch up with all the news, and to spend an hour or so just focusing on playing. I followed up with a quiet afternoon at home, getting on with jigsaw puzzle (nearly finished), and tonight will either finish reading my latest book or will look for something to watch on TV.

Tomorrow is operation Small Bedroom!!

0 mins = 2 days out of 4 achieved for my exercise target
5 portions = 2 day out of 7 achieved for my 5 portions of fruit and veg each day target

Friday, 6 January 2017

A Walk and a Trip to the Cinema

I know it's very early days but I think I'm getting the hang of this exercise lark. Yesterday I easily fitted in my daily exercise by the simple act of parking 15 minutes away from the cinema, so by the time I got back to the car I'd met my target of 30 minutes. Simples, with the added bonus of free parking! I hope this realisation is going to have a positive impact on my attitude to exercising - in the long term, I only need to double what I did today and I will easily manage the recommended 10,000 steps daily.

I was meeting friends to see 'A Monster Calls'.  We hadn't pre booked our seats but there really was no danger of not being able to sit together, as you can see from the photo!

From the trailer I wasn't expecting it to be a weepie and may not have gone to see it if I'd realised. The subject matter was a bit too close to home with things as they are with my sister. I definitely had a few tears in the cinema but thinking about it at home, after a mug of coffee and some shortbread, I'd still give the film a thumbs up.

This afternoon I'll be back in school running two recorder groups and some individual brass and woodwind lessons. I'm looking forward to seeing the children and getting back into a routine again - whether I'll feel the same by the time I get home remains to be seen!

30 mins walking = 2 days out of 4 achieved for my exercise target
6 portions = 1 day out of 7 achieved for my 5 portions of fruit and veg each day target

Thursday, 5 January 2017

A New Approach

Yesterday was a bit of a drab day for photography but perfect for walking.

I met my friend L and we explored the riverside walks in Melksham, were out for about 45 minutes and managed just under 5000 steps in that time.  Both of us are completely unfit, overweight and unable to manage the speed the rest of our group of friends prefer to walk at, so we've decided to form our own little breakaway group and do a slow, short walk every Wednesday morning.

I felt tons better afterwards though and that one walk has kick-started my self-improvement gene, which disappeared into the background at the end of last year.  I keep on about need to lose weight and so far my efforts have been focused on that one aspect, i.e. dieting as the only way to lose weight. I'm pleased with how I've done so far, and will continue in the same manner, but I've decided to tweak my approach a little and this time concentrate on creating an all round healthier lifestyle.

There are lots of things I can do to improve my lifestyle but I'm taking a slow, sensible approach (yes, I can be sensible when I want to!) by not trying to change everything at once and swamping myself in the process. I'm going to focus on a couple of aspects of my life that I need, or want, to improve, and will set myself some smart target to monitor my progress. So to start, my first two targets are:
  • complete a minimum of 30 minutes exercise on 4 days each week during January 2017
  • eat at least 5 portions of fruit/vegetables every day during January 2017

To keep myself accountable I'll record the previous day's achievement at the bottom of each post. At the end of January I'll decide whether I need to continue with the same targets, whether they need to be tweaked, or whether I can set completely new targets.

Exercise:  approx 45 mins walk in Melksham = 1 of 4
5 portions: 0 = 0 of 5 = 0 of 7

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Playing Catch Up

To start, here's a photo of a pinecone (alt A) for the WPSH - not very artistic but I left it a bit late and the light was failing!

Yesterday was set aside for tackling various unfinished jobs around the house and garden. If I'd set my mind to it I could have completed everything on the list, but I got sidetracked by the jigsaw puzzle (just over half of the pieces in place!) so a few tasks remain and will be done today ... hopefully!

The biggie was getting the decking cleared ready for next week and that's now done. Well, there's still two big planters to move but the gardener said he'd move them for me. All the other pots have been moved further down the garden, or emptied and stored in the garage for the time being. This all took me much longer than it should have - it's bitterly cold out and I really struggled with that which together with the fact that I'm still not feeling 100% from my recent cold meant that I had to keep coming back indoors to warm up and rest - I felt really pathetic and a bit tearful but gave myself a good talking to and carried on! Altogether it was less than one hour of work but it actually took me most of the morning! Still, it's done now so I know I'm ready for the gardener when he arrives next week.

Indoors, after some warming comfort food (tomato soup with chunks of wholemeal bread, both homemade), I moved some of the boxes from the small bedroom to the end of the living room. My aim was to get the contents of at least two of the boxes photographed and ready for sale but that's one of the tasks I've had to carry over to today as I was sidetracked by the jigsaw and then interrupted by (very welcome) visitors and gave up for the day.

The visitors were Julie and daughter no 3 with my Christmas presents. I was too poorly to get to see them over the holiday so, as they knew I was on the mend, they called in with the goodies - candles, a book on preserves and jams (to go with the preserving set they gave me for my birthday), a Christmas tree ornament, some candy canes (already eaten!) and a beautiful reversible shawl wrap. I was really spoilt this year!  After they went I settled down to some reading, then a soak in the bath and an early night. 

Today, I'm feeling refreshed and have a bit more energy so I'm off to meet with friends for a walk an amble around Melksham Park and then coffee and cake to finish. If I feel up to it when I get home I'll do the photos of the things to be sold, and then finish writing the newsletter to issue to the band on Saturday .... or .... I'll just cuddle up on the sofa and carry on reading my book. Even as I'm writing this I know that the sofa and book option will win!

Hope you all have a good day x 

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


I saw the following post on Karen's Facebook account and is something I've decided to do in 2017.

To start 2017 off in a loving way I'm participating in the Pay-it-Forward initiative... The first five people who comment on this post with "I'm in" will receive a surprise from me at some point in 2017 - anything from a book, a ticket, something home-grown or made, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. Let's do more kind and loving things for each other in 2017, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other!

I love the idea, so the first five people who tell me 'I'm in' in the comment box below will get a surprise from me at some point over the year. Don't forget to pay it forward though, if you comment "I'm in" you must copy and paste this onto your own blog xxx

To finish, and nothing at all to do with the start of this post, I have another photo for the WPSH - this is for repetition (no. 14).

Monday, 2 January 2017

Memorandum Monday

Monday greetings to all of you and the first Memorandum Monday of the new year.

I've lost internet access on my main laptop and am writing this on the iPad so it's going to be a much shorter post than I planned - Blogger doesn't seem to like my iPad at all!

I've spent the morning planning new social events for January and February, and also trying to come up with a new timetable for fitting in the routine chores now that I'm backing teaching in a couple of my old schools.  I'm trying to be sensible and not overdo things so planned events so far are:

  • Cinema to see 'A Monster Calls'
  • Cinema to see 'A Streetcat Named Bob'
  • Theatre to see a biographic evening on the life and music of Cat Stevens
  • Theatre to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • Theatre to see live recording of 'I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue'
The first four will be with various friends but I'll be going to the final one on my own.

I've been out in the garden for the first time this year, and to be honest it's the first time in ages. I have a few things I want to move/dispose of before the man comes to remove the decking so I made a start on it today, collecting up the cobbles I want to keep for use later on.  Some were stacked on the decking but approx. 15 minutes effort means they are now bagged and stored in the garage for the time being. I still need to move some of the plant pots but will need help with the bigger ones so I'm off to organise that now.

Thanks to Sian for organising this and I hope you all have a lovely week.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

January Goals

I don't plan to have any New Year Resolutions in the traditional sense as, knowing myself so well, they will be doomed to failure as soon as I type the words out! So I'm going for the approach that's been working well for the last few years, which is to set myself short and medium term goals of things I want to achieve and activities I'd like to do.

So far I've only really thought of my goals for January, some of which have already been organised and will be completed on time, assuming that the workmen turn up on the agreed dates.

The first is to have the decking removed.  After a disappointing year trying to get the entire garden landscaped as one big job, I've decided to break it down into smaller tasks and arrange for each task to be completed before I move on to the next one. I'm also hoping that this will work out cheaper for me as I plan to buy all the materials myself to avoid the huge mark-ups I've seen on some of the quotes.  Anyway, the decking is scheduled to be removed on Jan 12th and then I plan to live with it for a month or so to see if, when I move onto stage 2, I want the new stone patio to be raised to the current level of the decking or to have a step down onto a lower level patio.

The second job is to have the integrated fridge replaced. N, who did the refurbishment of the kitchen, is coming to sort it for me (and also to quote for my bedroom and en-suite revamp); it will hopefully be completed by Jan 14th but may be delayed if his wife goes into labour - a pretty good excuse! Whatever happens, I think it will be completed by the end of the month. I debated on changing the fridge when I had the kitchen done but decided against it, which now turns out to have been to wrong decision but not the end of the world in the big scheme of things.

The final goal is to sort the smallest bedroom, currently looking like this ...

All of the boxes are already sorted so I know what has to be kept and what has to be sold or disposed of. My aim is, that by the end of January, the room will be arranged as a spare bedroom and all of the boxes will either have been emptied and put away, or moved to the end of the living room ready to be sold on. At the moment it is 'out of sight, out of mind' so I'm moving it downstairs to be visible and make me get on with it!  

That's the plan anyway ... watch this space for the progress!

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt | Update

I don't know about the rest of you but so far, I haven't managed to take many photos for the hunt.  I'll have to get my act together in January!

For now, here's a possibility for raindrops (no. 2) and my other photos can be seen here.

I've added a linky below and I look forward to seeing how everyone is getting on.

Happy New Year

Image courtesy of Sirichai at

Wishing you all a very happy 2017.