Friday, 31 July 2015

It's hard to get going

For some reason since coming back from Bruges I have been struggling to get going.  I have no idea why - and why I am so tired - but it's beginning to frustrate me and nothing ever gets achieved - or that's how it feels!  I suspect its because I feel in limbo waiting for the decorator to get started.  Emptying rooms is not the same as painting and seeing a visible difference - I will just need to be patient I guess!

So - onto today.  What have I managed to do I hear you say?  Well - that's the point - not a lot!  I started on emptying the lounge - and spent an hour or so sorting and finding temporary homes for things (yes I found two more sewing kits lurking behind the sofa!!)  Eventually the lounge has to be completely empty (well apart from the sofa and chair) and the carpet has to be got rid of.  I am hoping that someone on Facebook could use it - its a wool carpet that still has some life in it.  Then I turned my attention to the new phones, which were now fully charged and operational - another half an hour or so entering some numbers so that I could see who was calling.  Following a visit to the doctors for my monthly medication bag it was then time to walk the dogs - locally of course - cannot mess the car up with dogs!!

These were, of course, all diversion tactics - eventually I had to face the honest truth - the sunshine was out and the grass could be cut!!  What I didn't cater for was the incessant flies that circulated the warm damp grass! It was not a pleasant experience but at least its been done and is now short enough to find the dogs lol.

Product DetailsSo - that's it - ooh I forgot the highlight - I posted this months Sewing Bee block - a 14 1/2 inch square made up of fabrics from the scrap box plus a backing square.  Later on I will be attending the monthly book club meeting where we will discuss "The Sunne in Splendour" by Sharon Penman - a lengthy fictional account of the life of Richard 111 - I can recommend it but you do need to persevere.

But before I close this "non blog" I just wanted to share a couple of posts that I came across on facebook.  The first is an appeal for bras to be sent to a charity to use overseas.  Like many people I know I would rather gift items / reuse them than throw away but, like the post says, underwear is rarely wanted - maybe others might find this post and the address useful.

The second post is just something that will be added to the "I want to make this" pile - its a groovy sewing machine cover!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

"All that glisters is not gold"

When I woke up this morning I thought that I knew exactly how today's blog would go.  I would talk about how today has been a chore day - a lazy start (I had another headache :( ), a trip to Tesco for some shopping then onto Grimsby Hospital to pick up a prescription (I also had a cup of coffee which I inadvertently tipped all over the car park - gee I've got style!) etc. 

Instead I want to focus on a short ten minute conversation that I had with an ex student at the "Hand wash - Car wash".  It's my birthday next week so I am planning to buy a new car - I thought that the current one could do with a spruce up.  I was minding my own business in the "reception" when a young, vibrant lady breezed in - on her phone talking about having been to the gym.  Truthfully I didn't look at her properly but you would certainly get the impression that she had it all - pretty, slim body, vibrancy etc.  Once we recognised each other and started to talk, she spoke about how she was 26 and had started her dream career in mental health when she was attacked one night.  Her injuries have left her with a crumbling spine and annual operations in London - the last one resulting in a hospital stay for 9 weeks.  Her prognosis is not good and the consultant has told her that unless there is a breakthrough and a doctor learns how to transplant a spine she will be in a wheelchair by the age of 30.  Wow!  I was floored and really didn't know what to say.  I then asked about a desk job and she says that she has tried but the pain of sitting over a desk results in being in a foetal position for up to 9 hours and no employer would have her with such a poor attendance record.  As I drove away I was reminded how quickly we can judge others without really knowing the whole story.  One of the saddest things she said was that some staff would say that she deserved this (she wasn't the best behaved student at school) - clearly I was quick to dispel that thought - no one deserves that!!

So that's my day - apart from some hand sewing ad long afternoon nap in front of a chick flick this afternoon.  A day of jobs and chores for sure but also one of counting blessings!

By the way - when I was in Tesco's I picked up these two beauties!

And finally a cheerful gift for my brother!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Two down - loads to go! (I'm blessed with a large family and circle of friends!)

Today started early - VERY EARLY!!  I have had no phone for the past couple of weeks - my fault - just haven't got around to sorting it but today the engineer would come sometime between 8am and 1pm!!  My problem was not just as simple as no phone - ever since last summer I have had some form of Heath Robinson contraption going on which involved loose wires lying across everywhere.   I was hoping that this visit would sort it all out for me.  I know that many people knock BT but I was impressed with the regular text message updates that came my way - and he was here by around 8:30am.  Just over an hour and a half later he left - the problem was the junction box on the wall of my house so the visit was free - and the wires have now gone - yippee.  I was that fed up with the situation that  I was prepared to pay so this was a result - and will fund the new phone that I will buy tomorrow - the current one is old and crackly!

Then the carpet man arrived to measure for the new carpet and hall flooring.  The upshot of these workmen being in the house was that I had time to focus on some crafts (who would have guessed!)  Firstly I finished the Christmas present started on sunday (the second one crossed off the list - hence the title).  You don't know how frustrated I am that I cannot show you a picture but I am rather pleased with it!

Next on the craft agenda was some redwork tracing for a couple of presents.  Before I started the sewing I wanted to back the fabric with some form of interfacing so thought that I would try to use the disposable visitors coat that I was given - there was a large pack of them being thrown out.  I couldn't iron on interfacing as I had used a frixion pen to trace the design - the frixion pen would have rubbed off with the iron!  The plan was to mow the lawn this afternoon but there had been a lot of rain in the night and, before the grass could dry off, so the heavens opened again!!  What's a girl to do but sit and sew?

Workwise I did spend some time clearing the upstairs landing ready for the decorators but, essentially, today was a sewing day.  Not only did I start to prepare the WI craft materials for a session in august but I even have the usual "sit and sew" session this evening to look forward to.  This retirement lark is tough!!

Mind you the postman did deliver this beautie - signed by the author herself.  I can just feel a plan coming on for Christmas 2015 - a wreath for every person in my circle - what do you think?  There are 11 to choose from in the book but this one is my favourite!

On the family tree front I did come across this stunning jardinere that my Great Grandmother made back in 1883 when she was only 16 - wow!!  I found it on this site.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

I got a "good"!!

Today didn't start so well - I woke up with a stinking headache.  Whenever I get such a bad headache I immediately fear the worst and think that its the temporal artery being inflamed again - particularly so since I dropped the medication by 1mg yesterday.  I had to drive into Louth this morning to see the dentist and it really began to feel almost migraine like - with a feeling of sickness but no flashing lights etc.  Fortunately two paracetamol saw the back of the headache - at its height the other headaches just would not go away - even when I took cocodamol!

So - onto the dentist.  Due to the Temporal Arteritis / locking of jaw etc its  been around 18 months since I saw the dentist for a check up and the hygienist for her once a year grilling.  She has been know to reduce grown men to tears and doesn't hesitate in giving them a really good telling off for not looking after her teeth.  My dentist, on the other hand is a pussy cat.  First up was the hygienist and she prodded and scraped - declaring my gums to be excellent and that my teeth were good.  Wow!  She said that although it was nearly mid morning it was a refreshing change to see teeth in such good order - wowee again!  Go me!  Next up was the dentist who said that he wouldn't rain on my parade and declared the teeth to be in good order.  However he did point out some concern with the medication that I was taking and that it could affect the healing of my gums if I was to have an extraction.  In other words I should carry on doing what I am doing - but just take extra care to not lose a tooth - he said that he has two patients who lost teeth and now have open gums with the bone sticking out - because of the medication - ouch!  Guess that's not raining on my parade then!

After a little shopping I ended up with my current favourite shop - Serendipity - for my third pot of Annie Sloan paint.  This time I am going for Paris Grey (its a kind of blue grey) to paint the two pieces of furniture in the lounge.  I am also (sorry Happymum) thinking of painting the stairs!  As I shopped in Louth I also came across a rubber backed floor runner that you can buy by length - £6.99 a metre.  Seems to me to be a good deal and useful for my hall when I have the floor laminate laid.

After lunch it was time to make a start on the hall - it needs to be cleared by Monday 10th August so I am slightly ahead of myself - but there are other rooms to be emptied as well.  Once emptied, the cupboard was moved into the conservatory ready for painting but left behind an awful mess!!

There were also three boxes that had started their life in the office, been moved into the conservatory, then stored in the hall - all moves went ahead without sorting out the boxes!  Starting last night these three boxes have been reduced to just a couple of items with the remaining stuff being thrown out / bagged up for charity or simply put away in its proper place!!  Light bulbs, for example, now have their own space in the utility room!  The envelope that you can see, however, does contain a precious cargo from America - fabric for yet another Christmas present!  Its a good job that the horticultural show has been cancelled this year ( I got a call today) - there are too many presents to be made!!

This afternoon I also made a couple of phone calls - one to the chimney sweep who is coming next Monday (see - sensible decision to get the chimney swept before the room is redecorated) and one to BT.  My telephone has not been working for a couple of weeks - although they insist that there is not a fault on the line.  However those who have been to the house are aware that there's a "Heath Robinson" affair of telephone wires going on.  I am hoping that this is all sorted after the visit - tomorrow between 8am and 1pm - cannot wait.

So - apart from walking the dogs and general housework- that's been my day.  Not particularly exciting but strangely satisfying.


I don't know if you have read yesterday's comments but there has been a call for thirty free minion toys from MacDonalds and thirty empty kinder eggs - if anyone can help towards this target please let me know.  Its for a youth group that my brother leads and he needs them by October (gulp!)

Minion Pin CushionEdited to add - I have just come across this pattern - any good Phil?

Monday, 27 July 2015

I'm too busy - however did I find time to work?

Don't you just hate those people who say this?  I used to think "you're just too smug for you're own good" - then I found myself saying it!!  Last night was a classic example.  It was nearly 10pm and I was falling asleep so contemplating an early night.  Cue a text from my mother - "Can you settle an argument" (that's code for I've got some work for you darling!)  There had been a discussion about how a relative died at the age of 2 - her Aunt said that the young girl had died from being scolded by boiling water.  Mum seemed to recall measles being mentioned - that was my git instinct as well.  Cue a trawl through all the certificates that I had ordered when I was researching the family tree.  After a lot of searching I was able to reveal that my instinct was right - Measles!  However that was not before my mother suggested that completing the family tree ought to be a project this year!!

Of course I have my 52 challenges - last week I managed to have my hair dyed purple and started to collect things that were purple.  Ironically I did not find many but managed to put this collection together.  The young lad with a purple t shirt is a 12 year old former student of mine who I bumped into whilst watching Shakepeare at the cinema last week - he gave his permission for the photo to be on the blog (and so did his mother!)  I was pleased to see such a young person enjoying the classics.

So - on to today.  The postman bought me some lovely fabrics to be used for a Christmas present or two.  Again the people concerned may read this blog so shall remain nameless and the creation will not be shown.  But, in colour, I am really pleased with the fabrics.

For lunch I was inspired by Happymum and dug out my diablo.  This may become my secret pleasure - oh the joy of a toasted cheese and bacon sandwich - mmmmmm. Its not exactly slimming world but the weather today has been cold and rainy - miserable in fact!  I have taken to using a hot water bottle to keep me warm.  However I did have to mourn the passing of my favourite little saucepan - the handle looks as if it is about to fall apart!

I also looked again at the Christmas present that I started yesterday and mis-cut the fabric.  Rather than starting again I added a contrasting trim which will save me some time.

Apart from the above and a long meeting about church finances and how we were going to pay a large heating bill for a new heating system, Monday has been a day of tidying around and hovering - quite domesticated really.  The drains and conservatory are coping well with the rain (money well spent there!) and the evening holds some tidying out of boxes ready for the big clear out of the hall for the painters.  Well - there just may be some hand sewing squeezed in as well of course!  I know how to  live after all!

Oops - nearly forgot - today's conservatory photos.  Notice how the lovely model is spread-eagled across the sofa to ensure that Phil appreciates its a different photo!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

13.5 degrees - a very british summer!!

So I woke up after a lovely nights sleep (if you read the blog yesterday then you will appreciate why I needed that!) to the coldest morning so far!  To add insult to injury my leg also hurt and it looked like I had a swollen ankle - difficult to imagine how I had injured myself overnight!  I could only think that the cobbles of Bruges had taken their toll.

Grace and Ruby
So - ankle strapped up - I ventured over to Scamblesby where a group of like minded people spend a day a month together enjoying ourselves sewing.  Some also go to the monthly sewing class that I blogged about last Saturday but Pat has not been introduced before - nor have Grace and Ruby.  Grace and Ruby are the grand daughters of Terry and were a delight to spend the day with.  It was reassuring to see these young ladies enjoying their sewing as much as we did and they were proud of their tea towel bags - Ruby declaring it to be the best thing she has made so far!

Ruby - with tea towel bag
Grace's bag (she's shy!)

For my part I was making a Christmas present - if you recall I shared the fabric in an earlier post.  Sadly, and frustratingly, I mis-cut some of the pieces so could not finish the project - that will have to be achieved      later in the week.

Grace - got her!!
Driving home the car registered the "high" temperature of 13.5 degrees - I am seriously thinking of lighting the fire!!  I shouldn't be surprised - its the start of the school holidays after all!  However the rest of the evening beckons - egg sandwiches for tea, a woolly jumper and some knitting - I sure know how to live!!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Bruges - not sure that they were ready for us!

So - lets start with the apologies.  I have not written a post for several days because I have been away with old colleagues on a retirement trip to Bruges.  Truthfully (and I am completely sober!) the desk is still moving as I write this - we travelled both ways on a ferry and I am still experiencing motion sickness!

So - back to Thursday.  School had finished at 1pm and my lift arrived promptly at just after 1pm.  the arrangement was to meet up at the local pub with some staff who were not going on the trip meeting up just to say goodbye.  Although a number of staff left on Thursday the trip was to celebrate the retirement of Di Dykes - my deputy head.  She has worked at school for around 26 years and is part of the foundations of the school.  Suffice it to say an amount of drinks - both alcoholic and non alcoholic - were drunk before the minibus arrived to take us to the ferry.  A situation that was (ahem) enhanced by the introduction of "Jager bombs" which some chose to "down" every time a new passenger was picked up.  I have never tasted the drink - nor do I want to - but the bus was somewhat merry when it arrived at the port (don't worry the driver wasn't on the trip and therefore not drinking).  So "merry" were some of the passengers that the group was mistaken for a hen party and they were subjected to a talk about the way to behave in front of young children!

That really set the scene for the rest of the evening.  There were 18 in the group and at least half of them have had a tough time this year.  I am sure that the term "work hard, play hard" was created for such a situation.  When they crowded onto the dance floor and sang along with the live band - it was time for me to head off to bed.  Judging by the sights the next morning it was a sensible decision!

After a (ahem) quiet breakfast it was time to catch the coach to Bruges.  There we were  able to stroll the historic streets (every other shop really is a chocolate shop!), enjoy a quiet meal and then meet up for a gentle boat ride in the sunshine together.  It was raining for most of the day so the late appearance of sunshine was appreciated.  The day took its toll on the old steps - I racked up over 16000 steps on Friday!

Towards the end of the day we met up in the park for an impromptu picnic using food that we had bought from local shops and (ahem) some alcohol that had also been bought.  However that was really the last of the drinking with many choosing soft drinks, coffee and tea for the rest of the evening.

Myself -I was feeling poorly from the hot coach on the way back to the ferry so installed myself with a cup of coffee on the outside deck watching the loading of the lorries before settling myself quietly into the quiet lounge where a group of us played card games.  I have never been one for a raucous life but the noise was just a little too much for me!!

So - onto today.  We were home by around 11:30 where, I am afraid, I fell asleep almost immediately.  I never sleep well in a strange bed but the noise and movement of the boat (it was a little rough last night) put paid to a decent nights sleep.  It was then time to watch "Singing in the Rain" whilst having lunch before doing some preparatory work for the sewing class tomorrow.  Nothing major / exciting but I couldn't fetch the dogs until after 4pm and the house just doesn't feel right without them!!

By the way - when my ex colleagues saw the purple hair they all got it - they correctly identified the need to rebel!! Mission accomplished.

Post note - I received news today that my application for my pension has been completed - from 4th August 2015 I will be in receipt of a pension - ooh er!!  Let the budgeting begin!

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Crafty,caring, cultured - how would you describe your day in 3 words?

So - my day started lazily - dozing in bed until 8:30am.  I had been awoken earlier by a friend who had woken up early - excited because she is retiring tomorrow.  She is working in my old school and has left her lasting mark on the school - having designed the new school badge which the new academy will use from September.  So the caring aspect of the title refers to the present that I drove over to her house this morning.  I am hoping that coming home - worn out from a penultimate working day - her mood and spirits will be lifted by an unexpected gift.

The crafty aspect of the title should be fairly self explanatory, given the nature of my hobbies.  However I have been trying for the past couple of days to make sense of a knitting pattern for a baby bolero.  We have a village horticultural and craft show which I like to support by submitting some entries but am struggling to make this pattern work - I have pulled it out three times!! I just knew that Happymum would look at it for me and tell me where I am going wrong so I sent it over to her.  In return I saw this and thought of her when I was out shopping - its waiting to say thankyou Happymum!

There were also classes for an embroidered item and a cross stitch item.  With no time to start something afresh I came across these two pieces in my stash - me thinks two cushions might be in order.  They might need an iron though!

View image on TwitterThe cultured aspect comes from tonight's activity - watching the RSC live screening of The Merchant of Venice at the local cinema.  I studied this at school and am really looking forward to both the performance and the memories that it will bring back.  Perhaps more importantly Wendy and I have pledged to watch every RSC live screening over the next 6 years or so - they are screening everyone of Shakespeare's first folio -around 36 of them.  We are almost into double figures and have watched a number of plays that we have never seen before!  We are also talking about going to Stratford and watching the last one live!

The rest of the day was just nahhhhhh - it has been a grey day and I didn't really feel compelled to do too much (I'm pacing myself mother!!)