Friday 31 December 2021

New Year's Eve

 Morning, everyone.  More mild, more dull . . . it looks as if it's been dry overnight but it's breezy and some of the plastic waste bags are blowing around the cul de sac.  I usually fasten mine to the waste food bin but they're not collecting that this week so I popped them beside Chris' (I asked) because it is a more sheltered corner the other side.

Well - New Year's Eve, the last day of 2021.  It's been a funny old year, hasn't it.  Plenty of ups and downs for us all, some national or even world wide and some very personal and difficult things.  I'm not going to be too reflective in here, you may be relieved to read, but being positive has sometimes been an act of will, not a natural response.

Yesterday, I got through Festive Blast OK although I did feel some twinges later on.  Nothing like before though so I'm calling that a win!  The last one is today but it clashes with the SW meeting so I can't be there, sadly.  I have enjoyed this week's exercises, even though I've had to miss two of them. 
Circuits starts again on Monday so that's very good.

Because it was fairly mild, I sorted out the last remaining 'black hole in the chest freezer - the fast freeze area.  It had been rather full because Dave and Anna had sort of borrowed the space to keep some of their super-reduced joints of meat.
However, Dave took most of it just before Christmas and it still looked puzzlingly full so I explored and, lo and behold, I found, under the bags of ice, a rolled pork joint, a gammon joint and a rolled turkey breast joint that I thought I had used up quite a while ago - obviously not.  They are now in the right bag and I'm pretty pleased as they are things I can do when I have guests.

I also updated my chest freezer audit.  It was so much easier than the last time when it was such a terrible mess; it was just a case of lifting each bag out, checking and amending the contents and then putting the bags back.  No rubbish to throw away, no 'why on earth did I freeze that' moments this time.
I didn't finish though - I have the beef and lamb bag to do and then the top three trays of the upright freezer, the one with the ready meals, etc.  I might get that done today but more likely tomorrow and ongoing as the turkey leftovers are added.

What is really helpful is that when I do get round to defrosting the freezer, apart from Dave and Anna's remaining stuff and some ice, everything is in baskets that I can just lift out.
It's supposed to be getting colder again next week - that would be an ideal time.  Then everything out there would be just as I want it to be.

I really had totally forgotten about yesterday's Twelve Days gift.  If I had remembered, I might not have bought those slipper socks last week and, actually, that would have been a pity because they are quite a different type and I can use both.  Also, of course, they will be washed regularly so it's nice to have at least one pair on, one in the wash and one in the drawer sort of thing.
Anyway, here they are - three pairs of trainer style fluffy socks with non slip pads underneath.  They're warm and comfy and safe in the kitchen and also might work well as bed socks, should we get any really cold nights.

In the evening I watched the old 'Bernstein conducts West Side Story' on YouTube.  I thought the quality would be terrible but actually, apart from that irritating lag between lips and sounds that you often get in the older clips, it was fine and I enjoyed it very much indeed.

Today, being New Year's Eve, sees Beth and Alex round again for what I have to try to remember is a New Year's Eve dinner, not a Christmas dinner.  It is, of course, that not-particularly-extra-small turkey which is sitting in the fridge waiting for action.  I'll take it out about an hour before oven time to get to room temperature and, being a Kellybronze, it isn't stuffed; I just toss an onion and some citrus in the cavity for flavour.  Pretty much everything else is ready to start cooking at the appointed time.

I'd worked out the timetable and then Beth and I agreed that we would have it an hour later so I will re-write them.  Being off work this week, Beth has stuffed a lot of extra things into her days and I think she's pretty tired.  Not a problem, we can eat at three just as easily as at two.  It just means that we may not want anything later on.  That's no problem either as I am sure Alex will take all the unused stuff home with him.

Apart from the meal, we plan to play board and card games again as we all enjoy them very much.  It should be a very pleasant time.

Well, when I next 'see' you all, it will be a new year.  What will it bring, I wonder.  What will change, what will stay the same, who will come, who will go?
Have a lovely day - are you seeing family, staying home, going out?  Whatever plans you have, be happy and be safe.  xx

Thursday 30 December 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  The penultimate day of 2021 and it's been quite a year, one way and another, hasn't it?  Weather wise, it looks as if it will be going out with a whimper - very mild and damp - rather than any meteorological bang.  The same as today, in fact,  And yesterday, when it was pretty dull, damp and warm all day.

The back feels much better today, thanks.  I not only slept on and off through the day, I also slept well all night, going to be early and waking early too.

This was yesterday's Twelve Nights gift - some strawberry bath bombs.,  I's already had my bath before I opened it so will treat myself to one this morning and hope I don't go around smelling too much like a fruit salad!

As my back felt quite a bit better later on, I did get out a bit yesterday.
I saw, on the Lathcoat's Facebook page that they were now selling Spice Queen mixes.  Spice Queen is a local company that sells really good, mostly Indian, spice mixes, sold on their stall in the market and also online.  I don't think the stall has been up during the pandemic although, to be fair, I don't go into town enough to know really.
They sell online but you have to pay postage so I was glad to see that Lathcoat stocks them.
What particularly caught my eye was that their 'Festive Left Over Turkey Curry Mix was available.  They only have it around Christmas and New Year and I've used it before - it makes a gorgeous curry and, as I am likely to have plenty of left over turkey, I drove straight over to get some.

While I was there, I got some other spice mixes and a few other bits and bobs such as some eggs and some of their own Cox's apples, not that I actually needed the latter but they looked so lovely.

I brought in the turkey (very carefully) and it is now thawing slowly and safely.

Eileen, the programme about West Side Story was called 'West Side Stories - the making of a classic'.  It was on BBC 2 and here's the link to iPlayer.
It was not at all the same as the classic Bernstein/te Kanawa/Carreras programme but I found it very interesting and there's some fine singing and dancing.
The latter is on YouTube although, probably, the quality isn't great.

Today, I am doing Festive Blast but VERY carefully.  It should be fine as long as I take it easy.  I will be spending some time prepping stuff for tomorrow's New Year's Eve meals, writing my timing plan, some housework and the rest of the washing, drying and ironing.
Not particularly exciting, but necessary.  :-)

What is more exciting is that the new Slimming Eats recipe book should be arriving today and I've also got a freebie version for Kindle too.  I had a good trawl through the Pinch of Nom book yesterday and there are simply loads of recipes I'd like to try so, between both those books and the leftover turkey, I will be eating very healthily and also very well through this winter.

Have a great day, take care and be safe.  Thankfully, this current variant seems to be pretty mild but Delta is still out there too and that is not so mild.

Wednesday 29 December 2021


 Good morning, everyone.  It's mild and dry (and still dark) outside.  Yesterday was a real mix of weather.  We had blustery winds, sun, heavy showers . . .  it felt a bit cold in the wind, then it felt warm.  Just one of those days.  Today is supposed to be between nine and fifteen degrees and less variable.  We will see.

Yesterday started off with Festive Blast.  It went fine but maybe a tweaked something because through the day my back started ouching a bit and I've not had a very good night's sleep.  I'm mobile, it's just uncomfortable.  
I've pulled out of  Festive Blast this morning and also out of my weekly personal training I had scheduled for midday.  I'm going to rest up and that should sort it out.

I did a bit more clearing and sorting out, put some washing on and then forgot so I've just started it off again and must remember to actually get it out.

Last night's telly was good.  I watched recordings of My Fair Lady (always enjoyable although I'd like to smack Professor Higgins around his smug chops, especially at the end!!) and then the documentary about West Side Story which really is my most favourite musical ever.  I then started watching the film version but didn't get more than about half way before I decided bed was in order.  I did got to sleep but woke up after a couple of hours with that twingy back.  Most annoying!

The twelve nights gift was three mini bottles of clementine gin which I HAD to deal with as I am going 'dry' on January 1st for at least a month.

Today, I'm taking it gently but should get stiff done.  The washing, for a start!  I need to just have a little sort out in my bedroom too as it's a bit on the messy side.  Downstairs is fine as I've kept on top of it for once.

I've taken the Kellybronze turkey out of the freezer to start thawing in the fridge.  I ordered an extra small one which is supposed to be around 2k in weight.  Before Christmas I got an email from them that said this:

"You will have heard about the Avian Influenza outbreaks throughout the country. Whilst our KellyBronze turkeys were not affected by the two outbreaks in Essex, they were in the surveillance zone the government puts around any outbreaks.
This meant we had to pluck some turkeys a week later than scheduled, which means they have grown a bit bigger than planned.

Please check the weight of the turkey you receive (it`s on the label on end of turkey box), as it may be a bit bigger than you ordered and therefore may need a few extra minutes cooking time."

I didn't look at the box at the time although I realised it was bigger than it should have looked but I wasn't fussed because they don't charge more if the turkey is bigger.
I did weigh it this morning before it went in the fridge though.
'A bit bigger'?
'A few extra minutes.'???

My supposedly 'around 2k' turkey weighs a bit under 5k!?!

It's just as well I like turkey, I have room in the freezer, my daughter has cats who view a few chunks of turkey as the best treat in the whole wide world and a son who will be happy to take plenty home with him.
But more than double weight!!!  I got a bargain there, right enough!

And I am VERY glad it's getting 48 plus hours to thaw.

Well, that's enough for now - have a lovely day, everyone, and enjoy whatever you have planned.  Stay safe and be happy.  xx

Tuesday 28 December 2021


Good morning.  It's mild and, for now, dry outside and the forecast is for ridiculously high temperatures for the next few days - in the mid teens and even into double figures overnight.  Bonkers!

Lindsey's Festive Blast yesterday was so good, perked me up, energised me and motivated me.  I'm looking forward to today's now.   I was also going to have personal training today but we've changed back to the usual time and day so I have that to look forward to tomorrow.

I sorted out my recipe folders and they are now all in good nick.  I need to go through the Christmas magazines and copy any recipes that I think will be useful for the future and then they can go on to my friend.  January's magazines should be in the shops by now so I will look out for them in due course.

I did some fridge sorting but there's a bit more to do.  It wasn't all that bad but I couldn't really be bothered.  I did enough to appease my conscience and no more!
I must do it today because I need to move the New Year's Eve turkey out of the freezer tomorrow to give it a sensible time in the fridge for thawing and I need some space for that.

Yesterday's Twelve Days gift was a reed diffuser.  It's in the kitchen at the moment because there's various Christmas smells in the living room but I might take it upstairs, possibly for the bathroom.  I think that will be nice.

Today's gift is sitting under the tree looking inviting.  I will open it later on, when I 'm relaxing after Festive Blast.

In her blog yesterday, Cherie said that she's thinking of doing Twelve Nights gifts, she and her husband, next year.  It's really nice when there's two because you can do each other's so it really is a surprise.  Of course, there's always the risk that they don't get what you would really like but heavy hints should help.

We finally managed the family buffet!  Cheers!  The freezer is definitely emptier now as I had bought in some of those 'party nibbles' boxes.  Very useful and actually quite nice but definitely on the beige side.  I thought I'd put way, way too much on the buffet table but by the time everyone went home there wasn't much left (apart from the Christmas cake - which is delicious) and what was left Alex took home.
We had a good time.  A round of Whot (last to 100 wins), two games of Scrabble (I was slaughtered in both games but it was fun, all the same) and Triple Yahtzee, which I won, mainly because I was lucky enough to get my three Yahtzees.
I'm definitely feeling muggy headed and lethargic this morning but Lindsey will wake me up, I am sure.

Today is an at home day with nothing in the diary but Festive Blast.
However, I would like to :
sort out the fridge properly
rearrange things in the freezer now there's more space again
catch up on more recorded telly
finish my current book and start my new one

Talking of books reminds me that I have a new cookery book arriving on Thursday, with any luck.  Ever since the success of the first Pinch of Nom book, other 'healthy recipe' bloggers have also been given the opportunity to publish, notably the Two Chubby Cubs and, most recently, Siobhan (had to check that spelling) of the Slimming Eats site, which I have found really useful so I was glad to preorder the book.  Between them all, I have a rich source of ideas and recipes that should help me get rid of the Christmas Gain and then keep me at target.
I'm looking forward to that one arriving.

I suppose I really ought to do some washing which means getting out my drying rack and ironing basket and board.  What a shame - but life continues, doesn't it?  How is your life getting back to normal again, now that Christmas is pretty much over?

So that's today - enough to make me feel I am being useful but with plenty of opportunities to R&R.  Stay happy, everyone, be safe and stay positive.  xx

Monday 27 December 2021


 Morning, everyone.  Having just been out to the shed, I can confirm that it is really mild, cloudy and dry (for now, anyway).  Yesterday was pretty yuck with rain or drizzle on and off most of the day.  I know that up north they've had some snow but we didn't even get within sniffing distance of any here.

Yesterday ended up a bit of a disappointment.   Dave turned up at about three and then I got a message from Beth that she and Alex are both feeling yucky and achey - not Covid, they both test regularly but Beth thinks it is a slightly delayed reaction to the booster.  It was the same for the first two jabs.
Dave and I played some games and then Dave decided he'd go home and watch the cricket (not my thing at all).
So - fingers crossed for today instead.  We exchanged a few messages earlier and she says she's feeling OK.  However, I have urged her not to push it but to stay home if there's any doubt.  It's her holiday this week and I don't want her to knock herself back trying to do unnecessary stuff.

I had a pleasant evening catching up on programmes recorded over the last week such as the Strictly Special and the programme about the Kanneh-Mason family's Christmas.  I may also have 'caught up' with a few dregs of liquid in a few bottles too, not to mention a few random bits and bobs in the fridge!  Ooops!

This blog may end up a bit random too but never mind.

Now that all the gifts have gone, I have re-cluttered up under (beside) the tree with my Twelve Days of Christmas, an unashamedly exercise in post-festive self indulgence.

Today's gift is in front of the basket and I can't remember what it is - which was the whole idea when I put it all together well before Christmas.

This was yesterday's - and I peeked inside it but didn't actually start reading as I'm in the middle of a Miss Read Thrush Green book and want to finish that first.

It will be all the better for a pleasure deferred, I am sure.
Nothing to do with the Twelve Days, but I'm loving these slipper socks.  I treated myself to them when I did the early morning Last Shop before Christmas.
They are soft and snuggly and anti-slip and, if I need to go out to the shed, my slippers fit on over them.  What more could one ask?

I know it might sound daft, but I have been pondering things and thinking about next Christmas - and before you say anything, it's just that I'm not even going to plan a big buffet on Christmas Day.  I did it because that's what Mum always did so it was sort of expected but you know what - the cheese platter and a few mince pies were as nice as anything, dead easy for me and there for the whole of the evening for picking at.  So no cheese course for Christmas dinner but a platter out later on.  I've written it in next year's diary (on 1-12-22) so I don't forget.

The other ponder is that the micro managing December timetable worked REALLY well and there was no last minute pressure at all.  That's definitely staying for next time!

Today starts with an online Festive Blast with Lindsey and a number of others who have signed up  The last thing I feel like doing is half an hour of aerobic type stuff which probably means I need it very much.  There's a session each morning this week, Monday to Friday.  I will stay in my bed things until just before, get into my work out gear, do the half hour and then have my bath and get dressed.  A nice, regular start to each day.

Then I want to sort out the fridge and also sort out my recipes.  I have sheets all over the place that need to be sorted and filed away for next year and I want to get out recipes that I will want to use through January.  After all, I will have turkey leftovers next week!

Finally, I would like to finish my current book and start my Twelve Days book.

All that before about three when, fingers crossed, the family (minus Anna) is here again for buffet and games (but minimal alcohol as both will be driving).

Have a great day, everyone.  It's a Bank Holiday so I hope everyone is able to take things easy and enjoy the day.    Stay safe and well.  xx

Sunday 26 December 2021

Boxing Day

Morning!  Goodness, I'm weary this morning.  I stayed up really late in the hopes of  sleeping in this morning (and also to start catching up on recorded telly - and a bit more Christmas Campari might have had something to do with it too) but not a chance.  Wide awake just before five.  Not to worry, I am pretty sure I will have a nice snooze this morning and, apart from a bit of reorganising of gifts left behind by Beth and Alex for collection today, everywhere is in a reasonable state and only needs superficial tidying which will take about five minutes.

Thank goodness for dishwashers!

It was a lovely day.  Very busy, especially in the morning, but it stopped me thinking too much which was good.
The Christmas pork, kindly provided by Dave and Anna with very strict instructions about How To Cook It, was absolutely delicious and, for the first time in my life, the crackling was proper crackled.  Who doesn't love a but of pork crackling?  I thought belly pork would be very fatty but it wasn't, it was lovely, melt in the mouth, falling off the ribs stuff.  Definitely having that again at some point.

This is what the table looked like before the hoardes descended!!

A Christmas Day tradition is that Beth and Dave (usually Beth) does something with the wooden nativity set.  For example, one year she substituted a jelly baby for the baby Jesus and it was well into the afternoon before I noticed.
This year, taking inspiration from the current situation, the Holy Family and visitors found their movements very much controlled by some restrictions.

Apologies for the lack of focus . . .

The shepherds.
The wise men.
In the stable.
And on the back of each of the above.

I laughed myself silly over them!

I loved my gifts.  I won't go through them but just focus on this, from Alex.  He knows I love my festive china so gave me a lovely tin, two mugs and two coasters, all in the Spode Christmas Tree design.
What I already had was older designs and don't have the lovely border.
I'm enjoying my first coffee in one of the mugs right now!

I swear that, one of these years, I will shell out a disgracefully large amount on a dinner set of this design (or maybe the Portmerion Holly and Ivy), I love them so much.
Then I will HAVE to have family round very often to get some use from it, won't I?

Today is the First Day of Christmas and my gift from me to me is sitting on my reclining chair.  It's the only one I specifically chose for this day - the others are random so will be a bit more of a surprise.  Today's is the new Richard Osman book.  I've heard mixed reviews so I'll see what I think.

I chose this because I thought I was going to be on my own and something new to read felt very appealing.  However, Beth, Alec and Dave are all coming over again mid afternoon for the Christmas buffet none of us had room for yesterday evening, contenting ourselves with cheeseboard and mince pies.
Really looking forward to it.

So, that's my Christmas.  It was bitter sweet, I can't say I was happy all day, I wasn't, but it was joyful, all the same, despite the two big gaps that used to be filled by Mum and Dad.   I am glad they were missed - it wouldn't have been right not to miss them.

Did you have a lovely day?  I hope your gifts were just what you wanted (even if you didn't realise that until you opened them), your food was absolutely delicious and you felt content and satisfied.  We all spend these times in different ways, don't we, but it's all good (or should be).

Happy Boxing Day to us all  xxx

Saturday 25 December 2021

Christmas Day


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David), t
o be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

The very last of the Advent music.  It just has to be that great Christmas Day carol, O Come, All Ye Faithful.

And I can't not have this as well - Hark the Herald Angels Sing

Wishing all my lovely followers a very, very Happy time this Christmas, however you keep it and whoever you keep it with.  Thank you for all your support, lovely comments, help and advice.  You are all wonderful.

Friday 24 December 2021

A Christmas gift from me to you!

 I really hope this works.

Over December, while I've done the Advent music, I have saved things into two playlists on YouTube, one entitled Christmas for things I might use in the musical calendar and one entitled Christmas Carols which is just what it says.

I am not particularly au fair with playlists but I noticed that my playlists were 'locked' but could be changed so I think I have changed them so that anyone who has the link can play them.
Fingers crossed.

So - my gift to you is a couple of links.  I'm really, really hoping they work - please let me know.

The first is to the Advent music plus a number of others that didn't make the final publication.  There are some dupes - same song, different performers - and some cross overs with the other playlist

The second is just Christmas carols - mostly well known, easy to sing to.  I shall have them playing today when I work in the kitchen.

Here we go . . . with all my thanks for being so supportive, so friendly and so really lovely this year.


Christmas Carols

Christmas Eve: Advent day twenty four

 Good morning.  It feels chilly outside but nowhere near frosty - just chilly enough for turkey-in-the-shed safety.  The forecast temperatures have gone down for these three festive days but are nowhere near snow level - fine by me.  :-)

I got loads done yesterday.

First of all, I don't think I mentioned earlier, but in the last high wind we had, one of the two archways I have that go from bed to bed in the garden fell over and when I checked the whole of the bottom was 'rotten'.  It would, of course, be the one with the survivor passion fruit plant on it but, when I looked, the other was just as bad and one 'leg' had broken anyway.
So yesterday I detached the plant from the archway, pruning it right back as I did so.  Lewis came  and took both archways to dump for me.
I could, of course, just have the whole plant up and binned, but I don't want to - it is a sort of resurrection plant , having been dormant for several years before deciding to grow and I like a survivor.  Also, it is an evergreen and anything that provides foliage in winter is welcome.  I was going to prune it back anyway, having read that they don't flower unless they are cut back well. 
So - what to do?  For now I have just laid it gently along the bed and I think I will buy some sort of pyramid support thingy.  There's quite a long stem before it starts leafing and that could go round and round the bottom as it's still nice and flexible.  I'd need to prune back some surrounding bushes a little but basically it is where the large rosemary was so there's a bit of a gap anyway.
Still pondering though.

When Dave and Anna were round Wednesday evening, I realised that my dining table was a bit wonky so I had a good look at the internal bits (it's an extending table), tightened several screws and now it is rock steady again.   

I got three loads of washing done, dried and almost all ironed.  I will get the remaining items ironed first thing and then all the stuff can go away for three days.  Happy Christmas washing machine - enjoy the break!

The lovely Victoria brought round my table decoration and candle.  It's just what I wanted.  Nice and simple with a thicker candle so it will burn for longer before being too close to the foliage for comfort.  I had a little doorstep chat to her and, after the huge success of the wreath making days (she and Hazel ran eight of them during late November and December) and they are planning more courses like that - something for Easter, perhaps, and maybe an Autumnal wreath course.  She's keeping me informed!

(apologies for the ironing basket in the background)

The turkey and turkey breast rolls arrived late afternoon and the whole box went straight into the garage.  It's well boxed, chilled and insulated so it will be fine.  Today I will cut the breast rolls into manageable smaller roasts for through the year and the turkey will be well wrapped and frozen briefly until next Wednesday when it will come out again to thaw for New Year's Eve dinner.

Today will be busy.  I have Slimming World first thing - just a drop in and be weighed session for an hour and I will try to get out of being weighed if I can.  I'm going along to help really.

Once home, it is into the kitchen for me.  I have a ham to cook, a lovely piece of belly pork to start dealing with and some turkey to sort out, veg to prepare, things to get out of the freezer, gravy to make with some stock from the freezer, stuffing to make and then, after all that, a kitchen to tidy!  I will enjoy every moment of it.

There's things to take upstairs to the small room, just to get them out of sight but apart from that, the rest of the house is in good order and needs very little work.

My aim is to get it all done by about two o'clock (and I'm sure I will) before sitting down with a late lunch, my knitting, my Kindle and the telly.  The highlight of the evening will be some festive nibbles, a glass of something and Carols from Kings.  Doesn't that sound lovely!

I'm so glad I am an introvert, a lover of peace and 'me-time', not needing parties and general knees ups for my well being.

I will post tomorrow and hope that in the meanwhile we all have a wonderful Christmas Eve, packed with lovely things to do and enjoy.  Whether you are solo or whether you have family around you today - enjoy the day, be happy and stay safe and well.  xxx

Today's Advent music just HAS to be the Christmas Eve carol, Once, in Royal David's City.  I will be thinking of that choir boy, only learning around ten seconds before that he was singing that iconic solo.

I still feel shivers down my back at those first few, stunningly beautiful notes!  Angelic.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Thursday: Advent day twenty three

 Good morning, everyone!  After a very restless night, I was awake at stupid o'clock this morning.  It's just as well it's going to be a very relaxed sort of day because I will fade out at some point and have a good old snooze in my lovely recliner.
I have no idea what the weather is doing but Beeb says it's not freezing, will go up to double figured in temperature and be dull and cloudy all day - a bit boring, in fact!

Yesterday went pretty much according to plan.  It was such a relief to have got the shopping done and dusted and I can only think of one thing that I've forgotten - that that is not important.  It seems that people are avoiding the shops - Anna said she went to a different shop later in the day, expecting it to be heaving and it really wasn't that bad at all.  I guess no-one want Christmas to be spoilt by a positive test if they can possibly avoid it!

Personal training with Lindsey was great fun.  She's pushing me on quite gently but it's definitely a push and I'm liking that.
When I got home. the cleaners had been and gone, done their usual magic, taken their cards and Christmas tips and left the place looking lovely.  They have next week off so that's it for over a fortnight.  I will have to do my own cleaning next week - oh, my, how will I cope!!!

The afternoon was spent just generally pottering around doing this, that and the other and the evening with Dave and Anna was just lovely.  After the Chinese we had a game of Scrabble where I was comprehensively beaten into third place by two very clever people (they first met on one of these academic courses for exceptionally able teenagers!!) but I don't care; it was a lot of fun.
I was pretty tired and mildly tiddly when they left so disappeared to bed but it was a restless night as I've already said and I should sleep much better tonight.

In the meanwhile, today is one of those days where I need A List so I have started one.  It's beside me as I type and I keep adding bits to it.
The turkey (the one that we're not having on Christmas Day) arrives today.  At the moment the email just says 'before 18:00' but I should get a more specific time band soon.
The lovely Victoria, she who runs the wreath making courses, will be bringing over the table decoration she has created for me and I'll take a photo for tomorrow's blog.  She has made one for several years now and this year I've asked for a pillar candle so it takes longer to burn down.

I do NOT need any more sweet stuff but I am umming and ahing about making some gingerbread biscuits, just because.  I'll look up the recipe and see what I think - maybe I will and maybe I won't!

On The List, in capital letter, it says THE TIMETABLE.  Usually, once the turkey is in, I know where I'm at with a Christmas dinner but as I'm doing a different meal, I need to work it all out carefully.  It's not the main things, it's all those extras,. plus dessert.  So that's an important thing today/tomorrow.

Well, it's early but I may as well get started.  Have a great day, whether you are busy or not.  Take care and stay safe.  xx

Today's Advent music for day twenty three is a proper carol, the lovely Ding Dong Merrily on High. with its challenge to sing the 'gloria' in one breath (I can't, unless it is very pacey!).

Do you remember that bit in one of the Vicar of Dibley episodes where Alice brings the carol singers and they sing this and just carry on the the 'Gloria' until the all run out of breath.  Makes me laugh every time.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Wednesday: Advent day twenty two

 Morning!!  What a cold night!!  For round here, anyway.  Of course, it would be the day I decided to do a very early morning 'last shop' that it decided a heavy frost would be a good idea.  Scraping the car just before six o'clock is not to be recommended.  It was c-c-cold.  It's still cold, of course, and everything, to be fair, looks really beautiful as the sun rises.  It is supposed to be staying cold all day but tomorrow and the few days after that will be significantly warmer (says the Beeb).

Yesterday felt a bit 'restless.  It was weird not to have anything to go out for although I was quite pleased about that.
Sharon came over and now I feel human again.
Then Lewis came over to discuss pressure cleaning the outside and various other tasks that could do with being done asap.
Once that was done, I sat down but kept jumping up to do little things such as find out 'how to make hollandaise sauce in Thermione' and so on.  In a way, despite feeling restless, it was strangely satisfying too as I did loads of little, niggly things as they occurred to me.

The 'last' shopping is now done and dusted and, looking at the piles of stuff, I doubt I will need to buy much more for weeks!  I'm glad I went really early, despite the heavy frost.  There were enough people there to mke it sociable and all the shop staff still looked alert and ready to help.  I doubt they'll be feeling that way by the end of the day.
Did I stick to my list?  Did I heck!!!  But I have everything now and anything I don't have isn't needed or wanted.  I even remembered to get some custard powder, having checked my cupboard yesterday (one of those niggly things).
Now I have to put everything away < sigh >

Over lunch time, I am off to Lindsey's for personal training and while I'm there the cleaners will be working their usual magic in my home.  I've changed the routine a bit and they are just doing the bathroom upstairs and spending the rest of their time downstairs.  I've left their Christmas cards (and tips) on the table for them to take, just in case I am not home in time.

On the Advent diary for today it says 'shopping' (tick) and 'sharpen knives'.  The poor things have been much neglected recently so need to be done before I attack any Christmas meat, etc.  It also says 'ham out' because I want to cook it tomorrow.  None of that is going to take much time or effort, is it?

Finally, I'm expecting Dave and Anna round at half past six for a takeaway Chinese, wine and Scrabble.  I'll make the order sort of mid afternoon.  Nice and easy, no work, not too much washing up and great company.

(wishful thinking)

The Advent music for day twenty two is 'The Shepherds' Farewell from Berlioz' 'L'Enfance du Christ'.  I've never sung this one but I love it, all the same.

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Tuesday: Advent day twenty one

 Good morning!  Another damp and dismal early morning here - again!.  I thought, as I drove over to Lindsey's yesterday, that there was a slight break in the clouds but, if there was, the Wise Weather Woman mended quickly!
Beeb tells me that it's going to be fairly cold overnight but that's just a blip and Christmas itself looks to be mild, damp and soggy.  Oh, well, it's just as well we weren't planning a trip to the seaside, isn't it?

As usual, yesterday was a good day.  I had a parcel - two books that I had ordered from Amazon over the weekend.
One is a book of comprehension exercises for my student - lucky think!
The other is a book that Eileen mentioned on her blog - A Year With My Camera, Workbook 1.  As you know, I do like snapping away with my little camera and am often a but frustrated with the outcomes, thanking the powers that be that I can delete them with a couple of clicks, not like the Good Old Days when you paid for and took possession of a pack of photos only to find that 95% of them were rubbish!!  Well, I did anyway!
It starts off with the the technical stuff which is the area I am most ignorant about and find hardest to make any sense of whatsoever so I am very much hoping that I don't crash out at the first hurdle because this book wasn't cheap!  When Eileen mentioned it, something inside me just sort of 'resonated' so maybe this is my Grand Project for 2022.  Maybe I will end up, in twelve month's time, a better photographer than I am at present - which isn't saying much, I know.  Fingers crossed!

I forgot to mention The Cake yesterday - it was the first think I did so now it is all nice and decorated and looking pleasingly old fashioned and not the least bit 'stylish' - just what I wanted, in fact.

Here it is, although I had to take the figures back off to put the cover back on.  They're not stuck on, they just sit there, so that's OK.
I couldn't decide whether it looked better with the red background or the green, so you have both!

The flower is there really to hide the join of the ribbon - it's a bit too big so I might have another think about it and see if I have anything that would work better.  I'm not going out to look for anything new though!  There's plenty of ribbon left and I did learn how to shame a nice ribbon at the wreath course so nothing ventured, nothing gained.   
Perhaps I should have used a smaller cutter for the holly leaves?  Not to worry, it looks great anyway.  It has the child-like vibe I was aiming for.

Circuits was great.  There were three of us there in the end and, being a Good girl, I did my LF test before going.  That's it now until Jen 3rd although there are other Lindsey run things going on.  PT on Wednesday, of course, and next week she is doing a five day 'Festive Blast', nine till nine thirty, online, Monday to Friday and I'm booked into that!  If nothing else, it might get me back on the food track again but, knowing Lindsey, it should be fun anyway!

In the evening, I binge watched a series of three programmes I have seen before, The Sound of Musicals, by Neil Brand.  You can get it on iPlayer.  He goes through the 20th century, from the rise of the musical to the mega-musicals, such as Les Mis and so on.  It's really interesting, loads of songs and some most interesting background info.  I just have the last half of the third episode to finish today.

The lovely Sharon arrives at ten to make sense of my hair and then, some time after eleven, a young friend is arriving to discuss power washing my patio and repairing a few pots, etc.  I'm glad about that!

Apart from that, the December diary says 'Blue room beds' but I've done that.  I will dive into the workbook and get linked up with the support stuff - there are weekly emails, I gather, a Facebook page and so on, and I must locate my camera manual, either the real one or online.
Also, I MUST complete my shopping list for tomorrow.

Should be a nice day - how about you, what are your plans?

The music for day twenty one is that lovely, jolly carol, I Saw Three Ships.  I just enjoy a dancey carol and this certainly dances!
Wiki tells me that the earliest recorded version is from the 1600s and is possibly from Derbyshire.  

Monday 20 December 2021

Monday: Advent day twenty

 Good morning, everyone.  Guess what - it's dark, damp and not particularly chilly!  Same as yesterday, pretty much.  I've just been to the shed for the day's supplies and there's just a hint of drizzle in the air, not enough to say it's raining though.

Yesterday was a very satisfying day.
I got the second stollen loaf sliced, wrapped and safely out of grabbing range.  It worked as a loaf but I should have wrapped the dough more tightly around the marzipan because there's a great big 'butter thief' (as my Mum called it) running right down the middle.  Oh well, not to worry, it certainly won't affect the flavour.  You can't see the hole in this shot because it's right at one end - one more slice off and there it was!.

Then I set to with the tea loaf.  It's so easy; you soak the dried fruit in tea overnight, then add sugar, egg and flour plus your spices, mix well and bake in a loaf tin - or, in my case, two smaller loaf tins.  It is also sliced, wrapped and frozen - I like it too much to have it in a tin in the kitchen.

Then I thought that, seeing as I was in the mood and because the kitchen was messy anyway so a bit more wouldn't matter, I made the shortbread.  I turned to faithful Cookidoo (the Thermomix recipe site) and found a simple 1-2-3 recipe - all you do is add the ingredients (I also added some orange zest) and then mix it on speed 5 for 25 seconds; it comes together beautifully.  Half an hour's chilling and it was ready to roll and cut into Christmas shapes.  I always bake shortbread lower and longer than the recipe says.  It did turn slightly brown at the edges but not so as you'd particularly notice.
That's now tucked away in a tin so I will need to be controlled - for a few days, anyway!

Beth came round in the afternoon which was lovely.  She test tasted a mince pie and a shortbread biscuit and pronounced them more than acceptable.  It turns out she and Alex are NOT going to stay over Christmas night but they are both staying over New Year's Eve and Day, so that's nice.  I had bought some 'bake yourself' cinnamon whirls for us to have; I've checked the date on the tin and it will still be fine for New Year's Day

I also got some washing done and dried inside - no chance of anything drying outside - but not ironed so that's on today's list.
I also have circuit training and I will test before I set off, just to be sure and keep the others safe, although one of us has asked to join online anyway.
No tuition for two weeks (and possibly longer if rumours about a 'circuit breaker' are correct), which means that not only do I not need to go out, I also don't need to put the tuition bag in a 'fall over it' place to remind me to go through the plans!

To be honest, this week looks a bit blank, especially as I don't want to go out any more than I have to.  Looking at my plans, today says 'towels in loo and bathroom' which will take all of - oooh - one minute!  Tomorrow it the guest room which I don't need to do now until next week.  Wednesday says 'sharpen knives'  Thursday says 'turkey coming' and 'cook ham'  while Friday says 'anything else?'

I do have a few things to go out for or have someone in.  Today is circuits, tomorrow the lovely Sharon comes to do my hair, Wednesday is early morning shopping although I may do that tomorrow if I wake early, just to get it done, and also my personal training session with Lindsey - whether that is face to face or online depends on what comes out from the government today.
On Friday, Jen is running a drop in weigh for SW but not a full session.  I asked if she wanted me to help out and she said yes - she knows I probably wouldn't go if she said no, I think, and I should go really.
Finally, the cleaners come at some point and I must remember to email Gabriela and find out when - it won't be Friday this week, of course.
And that's about it.  I think a few lateral flow tests through the week would be a Sensible Thing.

Did I say the week looks blank?  Maybe I was wrong!

However, I am in need things to do.  The above won't fill all that much time really.  I have my knitting, my telly, the house, plenty of veg prep pm Friday, some online exercise, etc, and I might see if I have some easy little cross stich kit I can do.  It's going to be a very self indulgent week and I don't want to do anything that will generate a lot of mess!

Today's Advent music made me laugh - such a good performance!

Deck the Halls, from the King's Singers.

Sunday 19 December 2021

Sunday: Advent day nineteen

 Good morning, everyone.  It's another misty start to the day and a rather boring forecast of 'misty and light winds' with rain predicted over the Christmas weekend.  If it has to precipitate, I'd rather it was snow so it's probably just as well it's not up to me!

I did have fun in the kitchen yesterday.  I put together my alternative stollen and managed to use up a fair amount of my dried fruit bits and bobs.  I looked at what was left and decided to dig out Mum's old fruit loaf recipe and jazz it up a bit to make it more festive (basically, add some of my Festive spice to the mix and use whatever fruit I had rather than what the recipe specified).  So I set the fruit to soak and the completed mixture is in the oven as I type.  Now there is absolutely no need for any more baking but I still want to make some citrus shortbread to the 3-2-1 recipe which works so very well.  
And then I really am all done!
The stollen loaf came out really well, by the way, and is now sliced, wrapped and frozen.  If I don't get it out of immediate range, it's just too tempting!

The kitchen is smelling wonderful this weekend.

Did you watch the Strictly final?  I'm not ashamed to admit that I was a bit tearful when AJ and Kai were talking about their disappointment.  I feel for them both  - for Kai to win in his very first year on Strictly would have been a dream come true and to get so far and then be scuppered by an injury - such a shame.
Having said that, I have favoured Rose all the way through, simply because of the deafness to start with.  You have to have a favourite, I think.
It must have been so difficult to get that programme out, what with injuries, three fewer dances, celebrities dropping out because of Covid, and so on.  I though it came together remarkably well under the circumstances.

Today, the diary tells me to 'ice cake'.  Seeing as I have done that, I'll probably decorate and be-ribbon the cake and then it's all ready for just the wee figures.  I can't put them on yet because they are too tall for the container.
I might make the shortbread too.  As an afterthought, it's not in the diary.

I had a message from Beth yesterday - she had to be round here to deliver something this afternoon so could she pop in for a coffee.  There's only one answer to that, of course, so I will get a mince pie out for her and am looking forward to a good old natter.

I'm not sure what to do now there's no results programme to watch but I guess I will watch some of the programmes I have been recording all through the week and not yet watched.

Today's Advent music is the wonderful 'The Three Kings' by Peter Cornelius, sung over the chorale 'How Brightly Shines the Morning Star'.
I normally link to the King's College Choir performance but have found a performance by VOCES8, which I've only just discovered and which is absolutely beautiful as well so, just to be different . . .

Here's the link to the King's one too.

Saturday 18 December 2021

Saturday: Advent day eighteen

 Good morning!  It's really drizzly and damp this morning and, I think, a bit colder. However, Beeb says it will be dull and boring all day - not quite like that, I hasten to add - so I'm not expecting much in the way of sun.

Yesterday was very productive.  I drove to Slimming World because I had quite a lot to carry, I had a short shopping list for Morrisons and it had turned pretty foggy, the worst it's been this year.  Luckily, it is close by so not hard to drive, especially as it was before it get's busy with milk run traffic (the hall, Morrisons and the school are all close to each other).
It was a lovely meeting.  I had lost just a little bit of the previous week's gain, much to my amazement.  I'm not sure how but I'm not arguing!  People brought a nice selection of nibbles.  We gave Jen some flowers as a thank you;  she really is a good group leader, so encouraging and cheerful.
There is a meeting next week, Christmas Eve, but just for a drop in weigh, no talky bits afterwards.  I asked and she said yes, she's appreciate my help as usual so that's going to be a pleasant start to Christmas Eve.
By the way, we do all wear masks and we socially distance.

Once home again, I set to with the Christmas Cake.  I had just planned to marzipan it but ended up also putting on the icing, after reminding myself of how to do it all via YouTube.  What I didn't do was put on the decorative bits - the holly icing, the little figures and the ribbon.  I have that on the plan for Sunday - well, the holly and the ribbon anyway - but might leave it until later on in the week as there's precious little that actually NEEDS doing.

This is where we're at so far.  I'm pleased with how nice and smooth it is on top - the side is a bit less so but it's going to be covered by ribbon so who cares?

Then I set to with the stollen.  Because I was using Thermione (much nicer when it's such a rich, soft dough), I didn't follow the instruction but made the plain dough first and while that was kneading away, I prepped the dried fruit and nuts, adding them at the end. 
I now have fifteen nice, chunky slices of stollen individually wrapped and in the freezer.
As there's still some marzipan left, I'm going to make another stollen but with different fruit, nuts and spice.  Again, I will make the dough in Thermione, adding my own Festive spice mix, and I will just make sore I have the same weights of nuts and dried fruit as in the recipe.  
And I will do it in a loaf tin - the first effort was free form.  It was fine but it would be nice to have a different shaped slice for the second effort.
I'll do that today as there's really nothing to do on the diary today.

I really should have known better.  One way and another I not only ate too much, I had a bewildering variety of stuff including too much fatty stuff (all my own fault) so overnight I had the usual repercussions (come back gall bladder, all is forgiven!).  I'm fine now, just with aching sides from tensing against the ouches so it's quite nice to have an easy day and I will take the opportunity to make some meal plans for the coming week, I think, and make my last minute shopping list - fresh foods, dairy, etc.  I will go to Sainsbury's for it as Dave mentioned a sort of Buck's Fizz type of drink - Winterberry Buck's Fizz - that he and Anna rather liked.

On to today's Christmas music and I have far more saved in my playlist than I can possibly use so decisions, decisions.
I think I am going traditional with that lovely old carol, Away in a Manger, sung by King's College choir.
I always understood the original version to be written by Martin Luther but Wiki tells me that it is now thought to be wholly American in origin.  You live and learn.

The arrangement is by David Willcox and has much more interesting underneath parts with plenty of passing notes, etc.  I've sung both alto and tenor in my time (when we were short of tenors) and tend to warble a sort of mixture of both parts - when no-one is listening!


Friday 17 December 2021

Friday: Advent day seventeen

Good morning, everyone.  Another mildish start to the day after a very warm (for December) night.  Has anyone else seen that 'they' are predicting a 'Beast from the East' around Christmas time.  I'll believe that when it happens and not before! 

Yesterday was a really lovely day.

First of all, Chris and I had our weekly coffee and chat.  Last week she provided Festive nibbles; this week I did and I'm pleased to say that the mince pies and the vegetarian 'sausage' rolls were both lovely (I think) and they, and the biscotti, went down a treat.  We are not meeting next week as both households are not really going out and about the week before before Christmas but keeping ourselves as safe as possible.  We may do an online chat though.

Then I drove over to Val's, loaded down with more mince pies and biscotti, knitting and Christmas gifts - oh, and slippers.  I've known Val for decades - she was the first person to welcome me into my house in 1985 when she lived just down the road and she stayed to help to get things unpacked and away.  A lovely lady.
She made a most delicious lunch of a toasted roll, spinach, smoked haddock, an egg and a topping of hollandaise sauce.  So, so good.  We then scoffed a mince pie and a biscotto (is that the singular?) each.  What with that and a really lovely chat, I had a super time.

And then, once home, Dave popped round, stayed for coffee and we had a good old natter.  He and Anna are coming round next Wednesday for a take away Chinese and a game of Scrabble so that's something else to look forward to.

Today, it's the Slimming World party and taster and then I'm home for the day.  I will be covering the cake with marzipan and then making stollen using the remains of the marzipan.  I'm going to enjoy today, I think.

Today's Advent music is a personal favourite, 'Thorns in the Straw' written and performed by the great modern Christian singer/songwriter, Graham Kendrick.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Thursday: Advent day sixteen

 Good morning.  Another mild, 'nothing' sort of start to the day.  To be honest, although it's quite lethargic weather right now, I infinitely prefer it to the howling winds we had last week.  There might be some colder weather on the horizon which might be a bit more invigorating.

Yesterday went really well.
I arrived at Lindsey's with a slightly sore arm and feeling very tired but we got going and the energy returned pretty quickly.  It was a good session and, fingers crossed, I think I have got away lightly with minimal after effects from the booster.  I feel absolutely fine this morning apart from the slight ache anyone would feel after having a needle stuck in ones arm!   Lucky me!

Mind you, I did go to sleep in the afternoon (I'm not sure if that was post-booster or just sheer laziness) and while I was asleep, Dave came round with the Christmas meat and popped it in the freezer.  It's a very nice looking piece of belly pork and he also left instructions regarding how to cook it.  So that's all good.  I wish he'd woken me though - I don't see enough of him really, he is pretty busy.

I got the ironing done and sorted out the kitchen.  So, all in all, a good day.

Today I have two things - the usual Thursday chat with Chris and I will be providing the nibbles this time.  I've got out the small Christmas plates (I have four so enough for nibbles and to eat off), the mince pies are thawing nd I will put the veggie sausage rolls ion the oven at about 9:20 so they will be done when Chris arrives.  It's nice to know that I have these things ready and waiting in the freezer - and time to make a few more, if absolutely needed!

Then I'm off to Val's for lunch with her, taking mince pies and biscotti with me, so those mince pies are also thawing in a box and the biscotti is in a bag.
I do like being ready!

The only other things I have on today are to make as much as I can of the nibbles for the SW tester meeting Friday morning and to get out the Festive lap trays.
I'm looking forward to the tester party tomorrow, even though I know the scales will protest again.

Well, everything seems to be plodding on nicely here at the moment.  I will do this allocating Festive tasks onto a December diary sheet again next year - it seems to have worked so well with everything being done without any sense of panic.  Nice.
Mind you, it helps not to have children under my feet . . . or a partner.  Solo living has plenty of advantages.

Today's Advent music is that well known traditional carol, 'Past Three O'Clock', sung by The Sixteen.

The Sixteen are a United Kingdom-based choir and period instrument orchestra; founded by Harry Christophers, they started as an unnamed group of sixteen friends in 1977, giving their first billed concert in 1979.
I gather they are quite well know - sadly, it's the first time I have heard of them.  Have you?

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Wednesday: Advent day fifteen

 Morning, everyone.  Yesterday was another 'mild and fairly sunny with dull bits' day.  Quite pleasant but not really December weather.

I set off for Runwell giving myself forty minutes and I was there in thirty, even with going through town.  It was all extremely well organised even though it was pretty busy and I didn't have to queue for long.
The main problem, for me, was that the nurse who was dealing with me had a very 'thick' accent with slurred consonants and I just couldn't make out what she was saying, even when she lowered her mask.  Fortunately, a supervising nurse noticed our difficulty and came to help out. 
She may have been hard to understand but she was jolly competent with a needle - I didn't feel a thing.
I stayed on the pain killers for the rest of the day, just to be on the safe side.

When I got home, I felt so cheerful at having had my booster that I sorted out the guest room completely so it is now ready for when Beth stays over, I made a shopping list, went to Morrisons, came home and made the Christmas biscotti (actually on the calendar for today).

They taste great!

And finally, I dug out the stollen recipe I like to use - Delia's of course, although my fruity ingredients will be a lot more ordinary than hers and I adapt it to Thermione.  It's a bit of a tradition to have biscotti and stollen over Christmas and, as I am marzipanning the Christmas cake on Friday, that's where the spare marzipan will go - into the stollen.  Luvverley!

Today, the only thing in the diary is personal training with Lindsey.  Fortunately, there's plenty to keep me going for the rest of the day.  Son Dave has confirmed that the meat he is providing for Christmas dinner is pork so I will look up some recipes and ideas although I suspect everyone is expecting pigs in blankets and stuffing, same as always!  However, I reckon a nice, spicy apple sauce might be a good add on.  The kitchen needs a bit of a tidy up as there's lots of bits and pieces on the side that need putting away.  I need just a few items for the stollen; this is pretty much the only time I get things specifically - mostly I make do and substitute.  Finally, there's ironing, there's pretty much always ironing.  I will do that first thing while I catch up on my YouTube vlogging.

I have a bit of a sore arm and neck and I do feel rather 'weary' (after a great night's sleep) but nothing worse (yet), for which I am very thankful.
(The neck might be from circuits on Monday anyway!)

Today's Advent music is that lovely carol 'Stille Nacht', sung in the original German by the King's Singers to an arrangement by John Rutter.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Tuesday: Advent day fourteen

 Good morning! 
It's mild, dull - same as the last few days, in fact.  I'm hopeful that it will be fine for my drive down to Runwell as today is Booster Day.  I'm relieved to be having it at last and very glad I booked it some weeks ago.  By the sound of it, I'd not stand a chance of getting an appointment right now and there is no way I would queue for up to four hours for a so-called 'walk in' vaccination.  Mind you, I suppose i could take one of my fold up chairs with me!!

Anyway - I don't have to.  It really is an easy drive and, if I allow three quarters of an hour, that should be more than enough time.

My Christmas calendar has got a bit jumbled up.  For today, it says 'make mince pies; but I did that Sunday and yesterday - yes I made more and they are now in the freezer until needed.  Plenty for all occasions.
Thank you to all of you who explained your pastry methods.  It's a shame I hardly even have pasty as it doesn't work terribly happily with losing or maintaining weight because I'd like to try all your ways.  Maybe I will from time to time, just for fun!
However, yesterday I didn't do 'Santa bunting and Blue room' so I could do that when I get home from Runwell, assuming I feel OK - and I am assuming I will be fine.  If not, it's the sort of thing I can do in dribs and drabs, should that be necessary.

Circuit training was really good yesterday, as was tuition.  There's another of the former next week but the latter has now finished until Jan 3rd.  Must look up some new resources in the meanwhile.

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday and it made me laugh so much I asked if I could copy it here.  I think the only one that doesn't resonate with me is the very last one.
How many of these could apply to you?

Today's Advent music is 'The Angel Gabriel', that old Basque carol about the Annunciation in an old arrangement by Edgar Pettman - the version everyone knows.
Lovely scrunchy harmonies and a beautiful melody - what more can one wish for?