Monday, 22 May 2017

Memos, Mail, Me on Monday

A very sunny Monday afternoon wave to Sian and the other members of the Monday crew.

It was back to teaching today after a busy weekend. I wasn't looking forward to it on such a hot day but it's the last week of term so I'm keep the the half term holiday (next week) firmly fixed in my sights.

Today, I made time for my first on-the-way-to-school-picnic-lunch, taking time to just sit and enjoy some quiet time ... or at least as quiet as it can be when you're parked by a busy(ish) country road. I stayed in the car this time, sitting in the front passenger seat with all the doors open and the car parked at just the right angle to catch some of the breeze. This was my view - the Alton Barnes White Horse.

After school, it was back home for another first ... today was the first dry day to sit outside and use my new garden furniture. It was delivered during the week and I'm completely happy with my choice. It has padded cushion seats for the chairs and the bench but it was too hot to use them today, but just as comfy without them. Taking time to sit outside with a mug of coffee and a good book (I'm re-reading To Kill A Mockingbird) and just relax from the efforts of the day is a lovely way to wind down and will definitely be a regular part of my routine!

Here's a photo of the new furniture. Sorry, it's not that wonky really; the photo was taken with my phone and I can't manage to straighten the image. You get the idea anyway.

Hope you all have a good week.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Take Three Thursday

I stayed away much longer than I'd planned and am now playing get-my-act-together at home.

Here's three photos of leaves/raindrops for Mary-Lou's Take Three Thursday.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A Quick Update

It's another quick post today but for a much better reason than yesterday. I've spent the afternoon in the garden, planting all my new goodies ... sorry, but I haven't taken any photos yet. As soon as I finish this post, I'll be packing and then I'm disappearing for a few days (so I won't be updating my blog) as I'm going to stay with friends. 

I'll do some photos of the garden when I get back.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Faffing About!

I've only got time for a quick post today. I've wasted most of the day faffing about trying to balance the end of year accounts for the band. Not really part of my role, but it has to be done and it looked like it wouldn't get done if I hadn't taken it on. I think I must have 'mug' written across my forehead!

My plan was to get up early and get it done, thinking it would only take about an hour at most. I was £30 adrift and I've spent all day, apart from an hour to have my hair cut, looking for the error or omission. I've just found it - a column added up incorrectly, which I'd checked I don't know how many times during the day! Anyway, it's all done now and I can pass the accounts back to the person who should be doing the work and forget all about it.

I'm going to have a soak in the bath to relax, get something to eat, and then I'm off to the book group meeting for the evening. At least the day is ending well!

Monday, 8 May 2017

Memos, Mail, Me on Monday

A cheerful Monday morning wave to Sian and the other Mondayers. 

Mail first ... I actually received quite a few parcels during the week but I'm only going to tell you about two of them this morning. The rest were destined for the garden so you will hear about them later in the week when I do a garden update. I'll start with the not-so-happy mail; I had some book tokens to use up so ordered a photography workbook from Amazon and when it arrived I was disappointed to see that a lot of the pages were ripped. Most definitely not what I expect for a brand new book. It's on it's way back for a refund and I'll use the money for something else, but I don't know what yet.  If I'm honest, I'm not too disappointed as a quick glance through confirmed that the contents were too basic for me, so I probably would have returned it anyway. 

I forgot to take a photo of the book, but I did take a photo of my definitely-staying-love-it happy mail.

It's not the best of photos as it's still covered in shrink-wrap and I struggled a bit with reflections, but this canvas will be on the wall in the third bedroom once it's decorated. I saw it advertised on Wayfair, fell in love with it, and a few days later, here it is!

On to the something new ... Ancestry is now showing 107 possible connections to me. I read up on how to use the information to identify common ancestors and from that have identified four links as the most likely to lead to the information I need on my paternal line (from the data available to me at present). Genealogy is usually a winter pastime for me but this is quite simply too exciting to wait!

Another 'new' is finding a new-to-me local walk, over fields towards the river instead of my usual route along the canal towpath. No photos of that yet though.

I don't have to work this week and will be spending most of the days at home, pottering and waiting for deliveries of plants. Tonight there is a band committee meeting to agree marketing material (it's going to take ages, I can feel a headache coming on at the thought of it!), and tomorrow night it's the monthly book group meeting (which'll be good because the pub where we meet does the best bowl of chips ever!). I had friends to stay on Saturday night so I cooked us a meal and we talked the night away, catching up on all the news. They've gone on down to Devon now but will call in on their way home mid week and stay overnight again. 

On Friday, it would have been Ced's 78th birthday. When he died I decided that I'd do something special on or near his birthday in celebration both of his life and our relationship, but I still have to decide what I want to do this year. Whatever I settle on will happen sometime this week.

Hope you all have a good week and have lots to look forward to.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

My Sunday Photo

a visitor to the marina


Saturday, 6 May 2017

The First Day of My Holiday

It's the dreaded SATS exams in UK schools next week so I won't be working - I am officially on holiday. I'm not going away, I think it's now called a 'staycation', and I'm ready for the break.

I had band practice this morning and arrived home to find that some of the plants I ordered had been delivered. I won't tell you what they are as there are more expected, and once they've all been planted I'll do another garden update.

I did a bit of food shopping on the way home from band and treated myself to these flowers and a Danish pastry, which has already been eaten! I don't need to go out for anything else so I can now pull up the drawbridge and shut out the rest of the world for the remainder of the weekend.

I have friends coming to stay on Monday so fingers crossed that it stays dry and we can do a few touristy type things.

Friday, 5 May 2017

5 in 5 | Around the Marina

I'm linking with Sandie @ itchifingers for her monthly 5 in 5 link up, and sharing some random photos taken within five minutes this afternoon at the marina.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Take Three Thursday

Linking with Mary-Lou @ Patio Postcards for her weekly photo meme, sharing three photos with a common theme.

My three photos for today are of the 'pictures' I can see in some the garden paving. It's fossilised Indian sandstone and I realised, after I'd taken the photos, that I should have made them wet to enhance the colours. Sorry!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A Rock Garden

This is a bit of an experiment!

I'd planned to create a rockery type arrangement in this bed - the crab apple tree is at the other end, you can just see part of the stake on the left of the photo. In my mind I was seeing it as the sort of rockery with lots of alpine planting but yesterday I was browsing in the garden centre (can't stay away!) and saw these rocks. One quick change of mind later, and I bought a couple together with some grasses to see if I'm happy with how it will look. It's now going to be a selection of grasses with some of these larger rocks arranged in the space. So far I like how it looks but will need to buy some more rocks to get a better idea of the finished result.

A question for all the experienced gardeners out there. Will it be okay to use a covering of bark for weed control or will I (in some way I haven't thought of) be creating problems for myself? Also, do you have any suggestions for grasses that are non-invasive and reasonably low growing (say about 2 feet max). I'd like to add a variety of textures to add interest but which doesn't detract from the tree.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017


Well so much for a quiet day yesterday. Despite planning a quiet home alone type of day, I somehow became 'the person to see' and had a steady stream of visitors from mid morning through to late afternoon. In between, I fitted in a flying visit to the garden centre (didn't buy anything), made a list of everything in the freezers, scanned some documents for Lauren, ordered some goodies, and sorted through another box of stuff.

This week has to be about restocking the freezers. I've made a list and will go shopping later, after I finish teaching at 3 pm. I'm going for a slightly different approach this time. Usually, I spend a couple of days cooking non-stop but this time will cook a different meal every day and then freeze the extra portions. It'll take a bit longer to fill the freezer but shouldn't be as time consuming as my usual approach. Today I'll be having chilli so will end up with four main meal size portions, one to eat and three to freeze. I'll also make some pea and ham soup (using the soup maker), giving six lunch size portions to freeze. 

The climber in the front garden has started to flower and has put on a growth spurt with all the rain we've been having, so today or tomorrow I must give it some attention and fix it to the trellis properly. It's a Solanum lacuna 'Album', more commonly called jasmine nightshade. I'm definitely going to have to learn how to photograph white flowers properly!

The white rhododendron (Madame Masson) is also starting to flower but is looking suspiciously pink in places!

I've found the compost bin I want and have ordered it, hopefully for delivery tomorrow. I then have to decide if I want to paint it or just leave it as the natural wood. I also ordered a couple of shrubs, some bulbs and a few perennials for the garden but they won't be here until next week. I'm debating with myself on whether to do a gardening notebook/scrapbook; part of me thinks it'll be fun and useful but a bigger part of me isn't sure! 

This evening will be put to good use, finishing this month's book ready for the book group meeting next Tuesday. We went for something lighthearted this time, The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler, and I'm enjoying it so far.  I like the two main characters, find them quirky and fun, and as there are several more books featuring them I'll be looking out for others to read. As if I don't have enough books! Anyway, I'm just over half way through with another 170 pages to go so should easily get to the end tonight. I have a friend coming to stay for a couple of days so I want to get it out of the way and know it's done.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Memos, Mail, Me on Monday

A happy May Day wave to Sian and all the other Monday posters. I'd opted for a quiet, home alone, Bank Holiday weekend and I'm thankful I made that choice. Sleep is still very elusive and I tire easily as a result, so this weekend was an opportunity to chill and recharge the batteries for the week ahead.

I'm not sure that I really have anything new to tell you as I've already mentioned receiving the books from my sister, and told you about the crabapple tree in previous posts. Hang on a mo while I have a think  ....


okay, thought of something ... when I received my Ancestry DNA results I was originally notified of 96 links to potential 2nd, 3rd or 4th cousins. In the space of a week, that number has grown to 102 links and I've already received messages from some of them and have contacted others, trying to work out who our common ancestor is. Some I already knew (on paper), but it looks like it may now be possible to make a start on my paternal line, the one I was completely stuck on. The vast majority of the potential links will need a lot of research to identify the common ancestor as I don't recognise any of the surnames at all. Interestingly, a lot of the links are based in the USA, whereas all my previous research had only found connections in the UK and Ireland. I'm excited about the possibilities this is opening up. 

And that's all I have to tell you this time. I have another quiet day planned, although I think Julie and her youngest daughter will call in at some time during the day. I'm going to carry on with some online research, not ancestors, but plants and interesting garden stuff. I'm looking for a beehive shaped compost bin and also some ideas for perennials to fill the planting pockets that run down the right hand side of the garden.