Sunday, 31 May 2015

Stages of retirement

I woke up this morning - at the more respectable time of 7am , since you ask - and was totally disorientated.  for a minute or so I just couldn't work out what day it was - it was pouring with rain outside yet I just couldn't decided whether it was Sunday or Monday.  In fact I am embarrassed to admit that I worked it out by realising that the BGT final hadn't been on yet so today must be Sunday.  Although this could be a sign that I am getting old and forgetful, I took it as a sign that "does it matter what day it is?"  Clearly, being a Christian , then Sundays are important but this could have happened any day and was, perhaps, a healthy sign that I have started to settle into this retirement lark. After all does it really matter whether it is a Tuesday or a Wednesday if I don't have any appointments to attend etc?

So I asked dear old Google whether there were stages of retirement - just as there are supposed to be stages of life - and came across this.  If it is true that there are six stages of retirement then I am clearly still within stage 3 (the honeymoon stage) and not looking forward to stage 4 where I become disillusioned with my lot (is this it?).

Elsewhere, back at the range, today has seen the second coat of paint on the conservatory.  Before the end of the day I want to clear that end, wipe surfaces down and wash the floor before moving the furniture from the other end ready for the paint treatment.  Given that tomorrow will be the first day that the rest of the school returns from half term (including the new head teacher) without me I have planned to go out to lunch with a friend so will not be tackling the painting !  Tomorrow also sees the first of my walking challenges.  As part of my get fit campaign I am planning to walk the dogs 5k before breakfast and time myself - the raincoats are ready for action!

Sewing wise I have done a few English Paper Piecing's (EPP's) and plan to finish amending a top which shrank in the wash - I made the top without prewashing the fabric first - grr!  Fortunately I think that it is saveable.

Food wise it has been another good day - boy am I on a roll!  Breakfast was bacon, egg and mushrooms, 2 hifi light bars with coffee for a break and then my favourite feta cheese salad for lunch.  Finally dinner was a repeat of last night - butternut squash and bacon risotto with Eton mess for afters.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Masking tape, masking tape - my kingdom for some masking tape!

Today started early (again) - I must remind Katie and Millie that 5:15am is not a suitable time to wake me up!  Despite laying in bed until 8am and trying to snooze it just didn't work.  So - after a leisurely breakfast, I did the weekly job of sorting out the medication.  I never imagined that I would be on such a cocktail - let alone need a pill box - but it works so I can't knock it.     I was diagnosed with temporal arteritis last year and started on a high dose of steroids (40mg a day).  Gradually they were reduced by 10% a month until we reached 10mg and then by 1mg per month from then on.  By April 1st I was reducing to 2 mg and the headaches came back in force.  Allegedly there are two possible reasons - stress and a flare up of the condition - so they raised the steroids back to 10mg.  However they did say that when my headaches subsided I could cut them down myself to 6mg.  Having taken no paracetamol for four days I feel ready to start tomorrow with 6mg and we will see what happens.
Today's mission was to start the painting of the conservatory.  Its a large conservatory so I have divided it into two - I will paint the two coats for one end and then move the furniture from the other end and start again - if you see what I mean.  I am pleased with the colour - even after one coat - although it does feel rather grown up!  However I just couldn't find masking tape anywhere in the house - yet I knew that I had had some for the quilting I did several months ago.  I managed the first coat but really need it for accuracy tomorrow so embarked on a mission to buy some - without venturing into Louth (20mins drive).  After trying two different shops I drove to the next village where the garage proved third time lucky.  I was so pleased I could have hugged them.   However I got into the car and drove the dogs to the beach for their walk.  I opened the glove compartment to store my purse out of sight - and found the infamous masking tape that I had used for the quilting.  DUH!
All that is now left to do is to feed the dogs, do a little weeding out front, make dinner and sort out some sewing for tonight in front of the television.  Foodwise I have been really good - the other half of the baked French toast and yoghurt for breakfast, the feta cheese salad for lunch and bacon & butternut squash risotto with eton mess for afters (squirty cream not clotted!)  After a day like yesterday where my slimming world filter was turned off, its nice to get back into focus.
Thank you for reading - feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, 29 May 2015

"We stick together"

Nearly 37 years ago three teenagers met on the Scraptoft Campus in Leicester and enrolled on a teacher training course. Over the years they have been bridesmaids and godmothers for each other and have been the first to call when times have got tough.  Today it was time to meet up again at Meadowhall, our favourite shopping haunt( we accosted some poor soul in the m & S café to take the photo - he had never used an iphone before!) , to discuss our next adventure  - our holiday to Verona in August.  Last year we splashed out on a cruise so it's time to rein in the spending!  We are planning a five day mini break - taking in the sights of Lake Garda and Venice, whilst taking in a visit to Juliet's balcony of course!

Tonight will see the monthly meeting of North Somercotes Book Club. Not only do we get to read a range of books ( this month it was the beautiful "The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes") but we get to eat out with friends and enjoy a free quiz night.

All in all not exactly a slimming world day but a very sociable one.  Mind you I did start with a baked  "French toast" pudding - using wholemeal bread helped to avoid some of the temptations later in the day!

Tomorrow sees the big painting start - the plan is to redecorate the whole house over the year.  I'm enjoying the planning process a wee bit more than I expect to enjoy the doing!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

"One Day More"

So - today is D-day.  It's the final time that I will go into school as Headteacher and the day that the keys and passes are all handed in.  It seems so final and I guess that I should be upset.  Yet the emotion of last Friday has evolved into a "lets get on with it" mentality.  Its time to move on.  Yes, I am sure that there will be difficult moments ahead but I am excited about the opportunities that could present themselves and am currently enjoying the extra time that I have.

Having said that I woke up to Katie barking - at a shocking 5:15am.  I tried to get back to sleep - only to be woken by the refuse collectors collecting the garden rubbish.  (Darn it - forgot to put the bin out last night!)  However I then put the time to good use by running up this small waist bag to carry the personal DAB radio that I use when walking the dogs.  My old bag was falling to bits and not big enough for the radio plus house keys.  The bag even has an inner ribbon ready to sew a lobster claw swivel hook onto to make extra sure that my keys are safe.

A large part of this blog was to track my efforts to get fit and lose weight - hence the two trackers at the top of this page.  Thursday is my slimming world weigh in day so I stepped on my own scales this morning  (yes I know I shouldn't but if I measured myself last Friday on mine then I will know the weight loss for the purpose of the tracker).  Wow - what a good start - 5lbs gone - 5% of target achieved just by eating healthily - fruit salad and yoghurt for breakfast, feta cheese, pomegranate seeds and couscous salad for lunch and meat and veg for tea.  Yes I know that this is mainly water but I will take the head start!

In terms of the walking challenge (hence the need for the new bag) I have set myself the target of walking 365km further in the year than I would do normally - ie not counting normal dog walks etc - making an effort to go on longer walks.  Living in Lincolnshire there are numerous walking leaflets published with a  variety of distances from 2 miles up to 17.5 miles.  I have listed them in order of length and will aim to try a new walk each week. Who knows - maybe I will have to increase the target!  My first planned walk is on Monday around the new sea bank at Donna Nook.  I believe that its around 5 km and want to do a baseline time to see how I improve.

The second item in the photo is the start of a millifiori quilt.  There is a long way to go  - its all hand sewn - but its a good "in front of the tv" project.

By the way - the title of this post?  As I was about to walk out of the door to go to school Chris Evans played "One Day More" from my favourite musical Les Miserables.  How apt!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Back at the chalk face

Today sees the start of two days of revision with the Year 11 students.  To say that they are panicking and focussed would be somewhat of an exaggeration - but I live in hope!  They are a great bunch of students and deserve to do well.

Other than that today is a day of tidying and sewing - trying to finish this month's Mandy Shaw BOM.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Mother knows best!

Although it's technically still half term, today was the first day since retiring that I had nothing planned - no outing outside of the home / no appointment to attend and so forth.  As such, then, today was the first test - how would I cope with all this spare time?

With my mother's sound advice ringing in my ears - I did try to pace myself - honest!

Woke up at 6:58am (this would normally be the latest that I could lie in until before setting off to work) and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast.  By 9am I had cleared the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and tidied the table and chairs area in the garden ready for these long sunny meals!

I then set about making the bag pictured above - quite a simple design but loved the fabric since it reminded me of my Labrador  - Millie.  Phew - I needed a break so had a leisurely coffee and caught some rays - before washing down the walls of the conservatory with sugar soap and then rinsing them off - preparation for painting on Saturday.

After a healthy salad for lunch (no more "pack ups" - yay!) and a short afternoon nap (well!)  it was off back into the garden to mow the lawns before the rain appeared. 

With a dog walk at the beach to round the day off it has felt like a good day.  I could get to like this retirement lark!

Oh - and one more thing - today has been the first day for months that I have not taken any paracetamol for my headaches - RESULT!

Monday, 25 May 2015

The animals went in two by two

Today was the final day of an amazing Yarn Bombing day at St Mary's Church North Somercotes.  Everywhere you went there were examples of amazing skill and patience - even the toilet had knitted toilet paper (not to be used you understand)!

As you can see from the picture above my role, once again, was to sell raffle tickets so - of course, the trusty sewing came along.  I'm sewing the Mandy Shaw red work "Twelve Days of Christmas" bunting and we have nearly reached the end - 11 Pipers Piping.  Once the red work has been finished I just have to back, bind and hang - should be done in time for Christmas!

Tomorrow sees the start of the house redecoration project - starting with the conservatory.  Let's hope that we don't have a heat wave over the next few days!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

You gotta start at the beginning - its one step at a time

Well - I did say that my mission for the year was to lose 100 pounds - and there has to be a starting point - so here it is!

How am  planning to achieve the loss?  I am following slimming world and so will try to continue this (truthfully my head has not been in the game for the past few months so am hoping to regain my mojo).  I am also planning to walk it off.  A friend suggested that I walked 5k each day - that might be a tad adventurous but its certainly a goal to aim for - both the distance and the speed so that it becomes an aerobic exercise. 

So - this is day two of the journey - I will report in every week so that we can monitor the progress.  Who knows - perhaps this time next year I will be running a 5 k!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sewing feeds my soul

Today sees a repeat of the Yarn Bombing fund raiser but it is also a chance for a songs of praise at church.  It is also Day 1 of my 100 lb loss campaign. I'm taking a packed lunch (slimming world style of course) and will resist the variety of pretty cakes on offer.

The title for today?  That one is easy.  What does a girl do with two hours to spare in a church?  Why - sits and sews of course!

Day 1 of the rest of my life

Well yesterday went well - got through loads of tissues and was genuinely moved by the wonderful words expressed by staff, students and parents.  I have never had so many hugs, flowers and chocolates.  In fact I am still on a high!

So far I suspect that I am not giving retirement the thought that it needs.  The next three days will see me in church at their yarn bombing fund raising event - selling raffle tickets as usual.  Tuesday is a free day and then I am in school for two days revising with the students.  But I shall then hand in my keys and walk off into the sunset.

Scary but exciting!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Last day of work / first day of freedom

Well - here it is. After nearly 50 years in education - both woman and child - the alarm clocks can be turned off at last.  So - what happens - Katie ( my golden retriever) wakes me up at 5:30am!  I have no idea what awaits me on my final day at work but I guess it's bound to be an emotional one.  I guess that curling up into a ball and falling asleep isn't really an option?