Wednesday 31 January 2024

Wednesday, 31-01-24

Morning, everyone.  The last day of January today and, truly, this month has flashed by for me.  February is, of course, a day longer this year, it being a leap year  It's dry but dull outside and, while I haven't been out yet, I don't think it is that chilly.

Sue made a comment that I seem to have a lot of washing and that got me thinking.
Roughly, every week . . .
one load is bedding
one load is made up of the daily tea towel, wiping cloth, cloths that I clean the loo and bathroom with (I tend to use muslins), hand towels from loo, bathroom and kitchen and my bath towels and flannels, etc- that's a hotter 60C wash
one load of whites done either at 40 or 30C depending on what's in it and how mucky it is - undies, T shirts, etc.  Sometimes the bedding goes in with this load.
one load of darks which includes my exercise wear - leggings and  T shirt.  I exercise five times a week, usually, and, as the idea is to get a bit hot and sweaty, I rarely wear them more than once - that's either a 30 or 40C wash, depending
at this time of year, one load is my knits and socks that I wash on a wool wash cycle with a gentle liquid - in the summer it is less frequent.

So that's four or five loads.  Maybe you're right, Sue, it's just a pattern I have got into though.
Sometimes I do up to three loads in a day and sometimes I spread them out.  It just depends.

Anyway, after that insight into my domestic excitements (!!!) and moving on . . .
Yesterday's Groove was great (when isn't it?) and, although it was drizzling a bit, Chris and I decided to walk.  We're glad we did as by the end of the class it was lightening up and the drizzle had ceased.  It's nice to walk - it's a good warm up before class and an extra cool down while the muscles do whatever it is they have to do afterwards.

I decided to get upstairs done after breakfast so set to and that's the weekly cleaning done now.  Apart from the daily stuff, of course, and a bit more vacuuming downstairs on Friday.  And I remembered to read the gas meter and send off the reading.  I seem to be very nicely in credit still so have no hesitation in turning up the heating a bit if I'm feeling chilly in the evening.

When I checked my mailbox this morning, there was sad news from a friend.  One of her 'children' (same age as my two) passed away last night.  I won't give any more details but, please, spare a thought or a prayer for my friend and the family over the next weeks.  Such a terribly sad time for them.
Thank you.

Today, I have slept in and am just getting going.  There's nothing in the diary until personal training so I'm thinking I might dig out my Karcher thingy and do a bit or window cleaning - when the sun shines through, they are atrocious.

Have a lovely day, everyone.

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Tuesday, 30-01-24

Morning, all.  
I've just popped out to the shed; it's really mild again this morning but very damp, not actually raining but semi-slightly-drizzling.  I'm thankful for the mildness.

Probably the final update on the pop up shop event - the total is now at £2,370 and yesterday Lindsey was over the moon.  She has a fairly new neighbour who she's met a few times and this lady asked Lindsey if she could take all the leftover items.  She goes to a church that supports a very poor village in Ghana and they are putting together a load of stuff to take over there this year.  She was absolutely delighted to be able to take everything that was left - and so was Lindsey as it has saved her a lot of hassle getting stuff out to charity shops, etc.  What a wonderful way to end this whole event.

There were ten of us at at circuits last week but only four this week.  A few were ill or had unwell children, a few were ad hocs last week rather than regulars and one couldn't come.  It was still good and Lindsey worked us very hard (which is what we are there for).

I managed to get three of the four loads of washing done yesterday.  One load semi-dried on the line, one load dried on the drying rack and I tumble dried one load as it contained towels and they are just about the only thing I always tumble dry.
So I have a little pile of ironing to get done today; not loads as some things don't need it but some.  

The other thing I did was doing downstairs.  It's getting quicker as I find a pattern to it all.

Today actually looks very similar: one load of washing, maybe two depending on whether I change my sheets or not, upstairs to clean and tidy although I could do that tomorrow, I want to sort out a couple of bags in the freezer, I'd like to bake a couple of loaves and I have that SEN report to write.
And it all starts off with Groove class.  Hopefully Chris and I will walk although it just depends on how damp it is really.

I think my get-up-and-go which temporarily went AWOL has returned again.  Thank goodness for that!
Have a lovely day, everyone, whether you are busy or not, going out or staying inside.  Stay safe and warm.  xx

Monday 29 January 2024

Monday, 29-01-24

Morning, everyone.  It's a much milder start to the day this morning and, although the sky doesn't look that clear right now, it is predicted to be a dry day.  I do hope so as I have a stack of washing and the first load is already in and doing.

Update on the clothes event - £2,285 now raised.  Lindsey and Debs must be so very pleased. (Debs is Lindsey's friend whose baby was born too early in the Blossom Suite and who has inspired this fund raising do).
How amazing is that!!

It was lovely to have Beth and Alex around.  We enjoyed out roast beef dinner and I succeeded in my Yorkshires (they don't always come out great).

Here you go - little bundles of joy!!
(Beth and Al took the leftover ones home with them!)

Today, as already mentioned, is washing day.  Monday used to traditionally be washing day, didn't it, when washing was a whole day task involving cumbersome machinery and plenty of scrubbing and rubbing while the whole laundry experience lasted pretty much all week and had to be finished by Sunday, the 'day of rest'.
And then it started all over again the next day . . .

Even with comparatively modern equipment, I remember it took Mum all day to get the washing done and dried.  I used to help by carrying the washing basket and pegs for her and, when I was taller, getting the washing out and back in again.   If it was wet, washing would be draped all over the house and  I still remember the mad rush to 'get the clothes in' when it started raining because, with no central heating and just an open fire, getting clothes dry was a bit of a nightmare at times so one couldn't just leave it out on the line when the rain started.
I bet Mum rejoiced when twin tubs came in and even more when she got her first automatic,l not to mention the day central heating was installed.

We always had Sunday leftovers for dinner on Mondays and baked beans on toast featured quite strongly too.  Quick and easy.

I am SO glad I live nowadays.  

I tend to share the load by doing a wash when I have enough whites or coloureds or when I need something but I do have a fair pile today and, assuming it is fine, I can get it out on the line - some of it, anyway.
So, today is wash day.

It is also clean downstairs day.  Doing my own housework (oh, the hardship!!!!!) is working out fine and on Thursday the money I will save through February will disappear from my account into savings - that makes me happy!
There may come a time when I need to resume getting help in - aging, illness, who knows? - but, for now, it's all good.

How do you organise your washing?  xx

Sunday 28 January 2024

Sunday, 28-01-24

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to another cold and frosty start to the day.  Proper winter weather, cold but fine, and fingers crossed it stays like this.

Lindsey's pop up clothes shop event went brilliantly.  As I said yesterday, it was crowded from the word go, I've just looked at the Giving Page and it's just a fiver short of £2,100.  Isn't that amazing?  That's pretty much it although there might be a few late donations, I don't know.  What's left is going to various charity shops or into drop off points so, hopefully, everything will be used one way or another.  It won't just go into landfill.
Brilliant, Lindsey, a resounding congratulations.

After that, I went on to Sainsbury's which is just a short drive down the road from Shimmy Studio and seemed to spend an awful lot but at least half is for next month - things like their dishwasher and washing powder.  I also found some of their sauce flour that I've been wanting to try.  Sadly, it looks like they've stopped stocking the Fage 2% Greek yogurt which I liked so much - they haven't had it in for more than a couple of months now.

Today, the biggie is that Beth and Alex are coming over for Sunday lunch.   When I went to Morrisons, I found a nice piece of silverside that wasn't too shockingly costly and that's now in the slow cooker.  Well, half of it is because it was big enough to cut nicely into two.  The other bit is in the freezer, of course.  How did we manage without freezers, eh?

I've been busy knitting.  I'm dividing my time between scarves for the homeless and tiny little hats and jackets for premature baby units - I have several 4 ply patterns now, thanks for your help, plus a new blog to follow.  This one -  and it's lovely (if you like knitting, etc).

I need to read back over all your lovely blogs too - I'm so behind, all out of date and really sorry for not keeping up.  That's what I will do after doing below . . .

I really need to get going and sort out the jungle I call my living room.  I've prepped loads of veg so there will be lots of lovely leftovers to use for other meals, saving me time and power.  It won't take long to tidy up, I just need to get going with it so I will love you and leave you now.  Have a great Sunday.  xx

Saturday 27 January 2024

Saturday, 27-01-24

Good morni - er, I mean afternoon, everyone!  Ooops, really sorry, I thought I had posted but I didn't even start.  Getting old!!

It was a cold and frosty morning today which was not a surprise after a beautiful, clear night sky and the most wonderful full moon.  It's warmed up somewhat now though.

Yesterday was a gentle and lazy day.  Slimming World was, as always, great fun - I didn't weigh, Sooze, but I have to next week.

It was a lovely evening - it's so pleasant to share a meal with good friends.  No pressure, just happiness.  I went for a small plate haddock and chips which was delicious and then a sundae.  That was a mistake - I was thinking of the lovely sundaes they served on ship but this was twice as big!  Really delicious but - phew!

Today I woke late again (seven o'clock is late for me) and pottered until it was time to go to Lindsey's.  When I ate there, it was just twelve o'clock but he studio was already jam packed and there was such a great vibe.  I'd already seen most of that there was but I did take one more item, a fairly flimsy overshirt.  I now have to make my donation on the Just Giving page.

And now I'm just chilling and, Chris, thank you for messaging me to ask if I was OK.  That was so very kind.
I hope everyone is having a really good day.  Take care and stay safe, everyone.  xx

Friday 26 January 2024

Friday, 26-01-24

Morning, everyone.  It' been a bit of a blowy night (or early morning) but there's nothing dramatic showing on the weather forecast so that's good.

Yesterday pretty much went as planned.  The coffee and chat was, as always, great and the meeting with the SENDCo went really well in the afternoon.  I now have a report to write, maybe this afternoon as I would like to get it done, dusted and off.  I used to be really good at writing reports - I do find them harder nowadays.

I'm off to Slimming World shortly and then it's more of the same as all week really - homey stuff.  The evening is a bit different though as I'm out for a meal with some SW friends.  I've looked at the online menu but it's a generic, sample menu - and doesn't show the calories which is annoying!  The proper one should but it means faster decisions.  Oh, the hardship!

So that's me for today.  How about you?  xx

Thursday 25 January 2024

Thursday, 25-01-23

Good morning again, everyone.  It's a damp old start to the day round here.  Not cold, just damp.  Definitely not a day for hanging out the washing, if I had any to hang out.

I had a grand old time at Lindsey's - she has loads and loads of stuff, 99.9% really good stuff, and we managed to sort through a fair old portion of it, getting dresses on hangers and on rails while tops, exercise wear, trousers/jeans/shorts, jumpers, coats, etc, were all folded into different bags, ready for putting out on trestle tables on Saturday.
There's still some to do but we made some great progress and Lindsey has help on Saturday morning too.
And nearly £200 has already been donated - fantastic.
I came home with four items - two tops, a shirt and some cropped exercise leggings.  I need to try them on but I'm pretty sure they will be fine for me.  I'll be going again on Saturday anyway because there's more I want to see.
Thanks for your positive comments about this - Lindsey has worked so very hard to make it work and I'm sure it will be amazing!

Personal training was also good - the time goes so quickly!

Today is an online SET class at nine fifteen and them Chris will be round for our coffee and chat.  Looking forward to that no end.
Then, this afternoon, I'm in school wearing my governor's hat for a meeting that should have happened last term but didn't, for very good reasons.
In between, I will get on with a bit more sorting and clearing, I think.  Why not?  (no need to answer that one!)

Have a really good day, everyone, and stay safe, warm and dry, whatever your plans.  xx

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Wednesday, 24-01-24

 Morning, everyone.  We had some more strong-ish winds overnight but it seems to be more settled now for a while anyway.  It's much milder than last week which is a blessing.

Thanks for your kind words yesterday.  It's not like me to feel low so I'm fighting it and it helped that yesterday was much more productive.  
Groove was brilliant, even though I took the car there and back because of the rain.  Then, after breakfast, I got going with the housework and did pretty much the whole of downstairs.  That leaves upstairs for today and that's a lot easier.

So, today - upstairs and some more clearing stuff in the dumping ground.  That third, little bedroom is never going to be a bedroom again while I live here but it doesn't have to be such an awful mess.

Then, in the afternoon, I'm going to Lindsey's early to help with some sorting out (see below for more info) for her 'event' on Saturday, before having my personal training session.

I think I'm doing enough to keep me active and awake today and, to be fair, yesterday was much better too.  Fingers crossed.

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

This is for anyone living local to Chelmsford and I've copied this bit below from Facebook.

Shimmy 'n' Groove Fitness Ltd
Duration: 4 hr
Public · Anyone on or off Facebook

Wow! Nearly time for the next charity clothing sale;
Saturday 27th January. An open invite.
Midday till 4pm.
12 Wharton drive
All money for the Blossom Suite, special birth area at Broomfield Hospital.
Gently loved ladies clothing & bags, plus NEW shoes.
“Take what you want and give what you’re able”.

So - every year, Lindsey organises a Charity Clothing event.  This year is to support the Blossom Suite at our local hospital. 
It is ladies clothing, shoes and bags, new or nearly new but all donated, mostly by her fitness clients or a few from local businesses.
It opens this Saturday at her home, address underlined above, and closes four hours later.  In that time, come, have a good look through, take whatever you can use and make a donation via a Giving Page.
No money will change hands, it is all voluntary donation.

Everyone is welcome, it's not just for Shimmy clients so, if you live locally, please do consider coming and supporting the amazing work of the Blossom Suite.
To make it clear, I'm not asking for donations, just spreading the word so that if you would like to come, you have the details.

I've just copied info from the Giving Page - Deborah is a Shimmy client who, sadly, needed the support of the Blossom Suite last year.

Hi all, this fundraiser is looking to raise money for The Blossom Suite at Broomfield Hospital- a specially designed suite for those babies lost prior or during birth.
Unfortunately my husband and I had to use the suite in October 2022 when we gave birth to our little baby boy, born sleeping at 20weeks. Since our loss we have met a number of other couple and families who have also had to use the suite and have also given birth to angel babies.
The suite is such a valuable one and the work the team do is so important, all money raised goes directly to the suite to help support them with equipment and making the room as comfortable as possible for the families that have to spend time there.
This fundraiser is a chance for those who have taken from the charity sale and want to then donate what they can for their choices.
'Take the clothes you like and donate what you can'.

Thank you in advance for your donations.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Tuesday, 23-01-24 edited

Morning, all.  Apologies for the lateness but I overslept (again) and had to get out for Groove.  The wind had died down by later afternoon yesterday and, right now, it's just raining. However, it looks like the wind is going to pick up again overnight.  We will see.

Yesterday was another sleepy day.  I'm doing such a lot of sleeping at the moment, presumably a healing thing after the rather nasty cold virus thingy in the first part of January.   Whenever I sat down yesterday, I went to sleep and I still slept pretty well overnight.  No complaints but I really must get some work done today.

I did manage to take advantage of the breeze and the sunshine to get a load of washing out on the line and revelled in the freshness when I brought them in again.  What with garden work and bad weather, it's ages since I was able to dry the washing outside so that was very cheering.  I've been feeling more than a bit down in recent days (not like me) so anything that cheers me up is most welcome.  Just post viral stuff, I am sure, but I'd really like it to go and take a running jump!!

On to today and I'm back from an enjoyable and energetic Groove class.  I took the car today because the rain was just starting and I'm glad I did as the walk home would have been a dampening experience!  No hanging washing on the line today and no gardening either.

What I do want to do is some tidying, dusting and sweeping, just to brighten everything up and I'm not going to sit down until it's done.

But first - breakfast.  Porridge is what I planned and it feels just right on a dull damp day.  So I'll say goodbye and get it ready.  Have a great day, whatever you have planned.  xx

Monday 22 January 2024

Monday, 22-01-24

Good morning, everyone.  I'm hoping you are all safe and without any damage after last night's storm.  It's easing off here at the moment but is expected to pick up again late morning for a couple of hours.  
No damage here - I took that garden mirror in and lay down the egg chair and it was fine; I am thankful for a fairly sheltered garden and next door's tree is a very pliable one that bends rather than breaks.

Take care, everyone, while it blows itself out.

Yesterday was, as predicted, a nothing sort of day.  I snoozed morning, I snoozed afternoon and I went to be early because I was in danger of snoozing again and slept pretty well all night and until around seven this morning.  I think it must be a sort of post-viral weariness and I am thankful for a life where I can rest up when needed.
The storm didn't disturb; once those hearing aids are out, I hear practically nothing!

Today starts with circuits class, assuming the roads are OK, and then it's housework really.  a good old dust and sweep around should wake me up.  If I get a load of washing on first thing, it should be ready for any necessary ironing by late afternoon - especially if I take advantage of the wind and peg it all out.  I'll see how that one goes.

Once more, hoping things are OK with you all.  Take cate and stay safe.  xx

Sunday 21 January 2024

Sunday, 21-01-24

Hi, everyone.  The cold has gone and the rain and wind have arrived.  Thank goodness for a reasonably sheltered garden!

Yesterday was another of those days where nothing much happens.  I was quite sleepy and had more than a power nap in the afternoon.  I still slept well over night so must have needed it.

Today looks like being more of the same - bit of housework, bit of washing, bit of ironing, some meal prep and cooking and lots of chilling.  I'm looking forward to it.  

What's the wind like your way?  xx

Saturday 20 January 2024

Saturday, 20-01-24

Good morning, everyone.  It's definitely warmed up around here.  I don't think there's a frost now and it struck me as far less icy when I went out to the freezer for some stuff.

Chis, was it you who recommended Marianna's Lazy Daisy Days site?   Apologies for the three answers - I've found how to follow now.  What a lovely blog; it is definitely going to be a first port of call when I wand baby knits from now on.

Yesterday was a really nice day.
Slimming World was heaving again - all the regulars, returners, people from a group that has closed and the New Year Newbies too.  Weighing was a busy task and we are reorganising it a bit so that there's not such a long queue.  It's nice though - lovely to see so many people having a good time.

I then popped to Morrisons for some fresh stuff.  Was it in here or my other blog when I said about the Christmas gravy granules, pigs in blankets flavour, and how much I liked it.  I looked to get some more pots after New Year but couldn't find any.  However, yesterday, Morrisons had a whole stack of them reduced.  Cheers!

The Coach Company newsletter landed in my mailbox and I am now booked for two more trips, one to Wroxham with a cruise along the Norfolk Broads and the other to a Knit and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace - not a festive one though.  I wonder if a friend will have a stall there; she often does these big shows.
I went through my diary to see how many of these day trips I have booked for 2024 now.  in order they are:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Battersea Power Station and the RAH
Swan Lake
Wroxham and Norfolk Broads cruise
Highclere Castle
Buckingham Palace and Gardens
Knit and Stitching Show
What a lot of lovely things I have to look forward to!

That was about it for yesterday really.  The rest of the day was spent moving stuff around or putting it away, bit of housework, some ironing - all the usual stuff.

I think today is going to be pretty much the same.  I have an online SET class first thing and then a list of household tasks.  I might do a bit in the garden if the ground softens but I have a feeling it will still be too hard to do much.
Just a pottering sort of day.  Perfect for Saturday.
Take care, stay warm, and be happy, everyone.  xx

Friday 19 January 2024

Friday, 19-01-24

Good morning, peoples!  Welcome to Friday.  Another cold start today but tomorrow is supposed to be a fair bit warmer.  Bring it on!

AFter a lovely chat with Chris, I caught the bus into town and headed straight for John Lewis where I found the same young lady as the day before.  It wasn't totally straightforward and she had to ask her supervisor to come and show her how to do one of the bits of the transaction but it was all done and dusted (groan) eventually.  I have to wait as they didn't have one in local stock so I will hear from somewhere central at some point.  The headboard I wanted was out of stock but could be ordered so that won't come at the same time (probably).  Not a problem - a headboard is not integral to a good night's sleep and if the order in cancelled, we have other bed places locally anyway.

On the way back, I popped into The Range to get a bird feeder and some sunflower seeds.

I had decided that while it was winter, it would be an idea to hang some bird food containers on the hanging basket hooks on the garden room exterior so I got this last week.
I've not seen much interest although I've not been looking that much.
However, I glanced out on Tuesday and it was smothered in long tailed tits - I'm not great with birds but I assume that is what they are - although in the time it took to get my camera, most of them had flown off.  The movement might have scared them.
Anyway, that's why I got another feeder with sunflower seeds which is now on the hook the other side of the garden mirror.
There's another hook the other side of the bifold door and I might put another one there - those of you who know - would peanuts be a good idea?

After looking around for a tiny hat pattern that was also free (and failing rather - but I didn't try Ravelry and will, today) - I noticed that in photos, some of the hats were so tiny they were put on apples for photographic purposes so I grabbed a set of in-the-round needles (dpns?)  and off I went.  A basic pull on hat is not hard, after all.  I should finish it later on today.  However, I will look on Ravelry because one pattern I saw had a slit in the top - for an electrode wire, I think.
I could get in touch with the baby unit, I suppose but that means bothering a very busy and important part of the hospital.

Today I am off to Slimming World, then popping into Morrisons to get a few necessary bits and bobs and then it's the usual plus finishing off the ironing and making more!
Just a normal day, in fact.
When it is warmer, I need to spend some time in the garden but for not it will have to stay a bit messy.  Wimps of the World units!!

Thursday 18 January 2024

Thursday, 18-01-24

Morning, everyone.  I've just ventured out in the dark to pop some recycling stuff in the bin (collection today and they often come pretty early) and brrrr - it's a right heavy frost right now.  I hope that eases a bit before I next go out.

I seem to have accidentally given a very false impression of my cleanliness!!!
When I asked if anyone cleaned inside their divan base (if they have one, that is), I really meant inside, not underneath or around but within the body of the 'box' that you can't see and can't get to unless you take the drawers completely out.

Brenda (and anyone else), this is what I mean by a divan base . . .
This is actually the one I was going to get but not now because I noticed it has legs, not castors, and I want castors for ease of moving away from the wall for cleaning.  
The mattress goes on top of the base and those drawers can be very useful although I know to my cost that they won't take anything heavy, hence the collapsed drawer that started all this off.
You can, obviously, buy a mattress at the same time but I don't need one.

So - when I got the collapsed drawer out, actually inside the 'box' was terribly dusty.  I had never thought about cleaning inside my bed but I will from now on, maybe once a month, like the windows.
So - does anyone clean inside as well as over, under and around?

Anyway - I went into town, got some advice, came home, started to order online and had to stop because I could see nowhere that gave me the option of having the old base taken away - and that, for me, is a non-negotiable.  It could, of course, be the other side of the 'pay now' button but I wasn't taking that risk.  So it's back into town today, back to John Lewis, to order face to face.  And if there are problems with that, they have lost their sale and I will look elsewhere.

It's quite a nice bus ride into town and I do have the time (and the golden oldies bus pass) so no problems.

There's no online class today as Lindsey has a family commitment so she had posted a pre-record that we can use when it suits us.  I can have coffee and chat with Chris early and then I can get into town, probably on the 11:00 bus.  I believe the market is open today so I might have a wander round - if it isn't too cold, that is.

Once home, providing I feel like it, I will start tackling the last bedroom which is very much a dumping ground.  That's going to be a work in progress as there's a lot to go through, but by the time I start, I will have an empty bin and a strong desire to deal with it, maybe via a daily fifteen minutes or so.  Wish me luck!!

If you have underbed drawers, what do you store in them - if that's not too personal a question?  xx

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Wednesday, 17-01-24

Good morning, everyone.  Last week, the BBC predicted that we would wake to snow today.  That changed, thank goodness, and today, Like yesterday, should be pretty cold but dry and sunny and altogether a lovely winter's day.

Yesterday, I decided to get my bedroom finished off as much as I want to at this time.  Before I did that, I decided I would strip the bed and sort out the collapsed and empty under-drawer.  So I managed to get the drawer out eventually, fought my way past the dust of ages (almost archeological treasure) and - oh, dear - the whole base is in a really bad way, totally broken in the middle and so battered, there's really no point in trying to repair it.  I'm surprised it's still standing (slight exaggeration warning!)!
To be fair, it is very, very old.  It has seen off several mattresses in its time so I really have got my money's-worth over the years.  So, after a quick trawl around the internet, I'm off into town this morning.
< sigh >

Am I the only person to not think of dusting the inside of a divan base????

After that mega clean and bedroom sort out, I decided to sweep the landing and stairs while I was at it and, surprise, surprise, the week's cleaning housework is almost done.  Just the other two bedrooms and the windows to do - plus all the usual daily things, of course.

So today starts with a bus ride into town to get my new bed base sorted which has driven a coach and horses through the month's budget but that can't be helped.
Once home again, I think I must go into the blue room (guest room) and re-organise my Christmas stuff - bedding, tablecloths, Christmas jumpers, etc.  It shouldn't take too long as it's in fairly good nick anyway but doesn't make best use of the space.  Possibly ditto with my stash of yarn - there's so much less double knitting yarn now although still way too much four ply and chunkier stuff.  I wonder if I could find a four ply pattern for tiny sized little jackets and hats for the baby unit - must do a bit of research there, I think.

Also, there's my personal training session to go to.
A busy day but a very pleasant one too.  I'm looking forward to it all.

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Tuesday, 16-01-24

Morning, everyone!  It remains pretty chilly round here and, as often happens, we have plenty of sunshine forecast for today.  No snow though, thankfully and BBC weather thinks it will become much milder and less settled by the weekend.  We will see, won't we?

Yesterday was lovely.  After a really good Circuits session, I got some housework done, including using the steam cleaner which hasn't been used for many, many years.  I had forgotten how easy is is to use and all the relevant flooring is now nice and clean.  Most satisfying.

I had another message from the Broomfield Coach Trips people and now the visit to the opening night of Swan Lake at the R.A.H. is all paid for too.    That's not until June but needed paying for early.  That's OK - it's hard on this month's money but once paid, that's it, I get the benefit later on.

Today it is Groove, being Tuesday, and Chris and I will be walking down and back in sunshine (hopefully).  
Once home again, it is the usual - there's some washing, drying and ironing to be done and I would really like to finish sorting out my bedroom too.  Again, nothing exciting but very satisfying, all the same.

Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Monday 15 January 2024

Monday, 15-01-24

Morning, everyone.  How on earth can we be half way through January already?  It's a bit cold today - and by that I mean we have a bit of a frost!  That's cold for Essex < grin >.

Alison and Marjorie - here's a link to Digging for Britain.  We're on series 11 and there are seven already available with three more to go.  And, of course, lots of back series if you're interested.

I had a lovely chat with Beth yesterday, reliving my holiday as we went through the photos.  Also, we have decided (for the future) that it's time we shook up our Christmas routines a bit and maybe have it at hers one year and mine the next sort of thing.  She and I had both been thinking about it but didn't want to upset the other - lol.  She had a lovely time at home.
She also reminded me that we had planned to take one of the really posh woodland villa thingies for a family celebration on my 75th birthday - so must save for that, they are shockingly expensive.  

Today, I'm ready to leave for circuits and then it is a day in getting up to date with washing, drying, ironing, cleaning, etc, before chilling with my knitting and my Christmas recordings (still catching up) - just an 'ordinary' day
What does your ordinary day look like - not that any day is completely that.  There's always something to make it special; you just have to look for it sometimes.

Sunday 14 January 2024

Sunday, 14-01-24

Good morning, one and all.  How are things?

Thanks for your lovely comments yesterday.  I'm particularly excited about the Norwich trip.  Alex was at uni in Norwich and Beth and I had planned a short break there - maybe a Monday to Friday - to see the sights and Alex!  Then along came Covid, lockdown and the ruin of Alex's university life and experience so, obviously, it never happened and I haven't been there since.
It's one of those 'plan your own day' trips so I need to do a bit of Googling, don't I?

Yesterday was just one of those lazy days - I got through SET fine and then just pottered doing a bit here, a but there and quite a lot of sitting and knitting.  I have been re-watching the Ehle/Firth Pride and Prejudice on iPlayer and re-reading the book too.  Great fun.  I also watched my recent recordings of Digging for Britain which it really, really enjoy.  Do any of you watch it?
As for knitting, Potters at Five Lakes has started a Knit and Natter to make scarves for people in need - it's based at the resort, of course, but I'm going in April and can take what I have made with me and what a great way to continue using up my stash.  Just garter stitch and 30st per row but that's fine - keeps my hands busy as well as reducing what spare yarn I have so all good!

Today, I have an invite from Beth to go round for coffee and I will take my laptop with me to show her some holiday photos as well as a general catch-up.  I'm looking forward to that.

How are you spending your Sunday?  xx

Saturday 13 January 2024

Saturday, 13-01-24

 Morning, lovely people.  Welcome to Saturday.

After a rushed start, yesterday went fine.  I was glad to get my food shop done and dusted and now, apart from fresh stuff, I think I'm pretty well set up for a couple of weeks, which feels good.

As I said, I pretty much took the rest of the day as down time.  I did a little bit of housework but not much and I think the rest did me good.  I'm not so chesty this morning, nor achey either - althpough that might change after SET class!

I have a couple more day trips paid for now after getting emails from the organisers yesterday.  So that is the trip to Norwich (must do a bit of research) and the trip to London for Battersea Power Station and the Royal Albert Hall both paid for.  Norwich is in March, as is going to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and London is in April plus a Monday to Friday at Center Parcs and a Friday to Monday at Potters, Five Lakes with Lindsey and group so I really do have loads to look forward to.   Definitely ticking the enjoyment box here.

Today starts with an online SET class.  AFter that, goodness knows.  I need to tidy my computer desk which is a right tip so that is top of the list, and I'll probably dust and sweep downstairs at the same time before chilling.  It should be a nice day anyway!

Thinking of all of you under severe weather warnings for extreme cold at the moment.  We grumble about the weather in the UK but we have nothing like that.  Take care and I hope you are able to stay cosy, warm and safe.  xx

Friday 12 January 2024

Friday, 12-01-24

 Morning, all.  I'm in quite a rush this morning and will do this properly later, probably early afternoon!  Sorry!  xx

Afternoon, everyone!  Sorry about this morning - I woke early, managed to get back to sleep and then overslept.  I had to be out of the house for Slimming World so I did what I HAD to do on social media and now I'm back to finish.

Yesterday was a pleasant, normal sort of day.
I did half an hour of Lindsey's class and then the salt pellets arrive (they weren't supposed to come until next week but no complaints from me!) so the session finished off with some weights as I carried the bags, one at a time, out to where they go before needed.  I can still feel it in my shoulders!

Then Chris came over for our first coffee and chat since Christmas and we certainly had plenty to discuss, one way and another.  After that, I just got on with clearing and tidying my bedroom.  I found some clothes that I decided I wouldn't wear so they're going to Lindsey's for her charity event and there was some pretty old stuff to chuck too.  As well as that, I found a pile of pretty new T shirts that will see me nicely through the summer.  I hadn't exactly forgotten about them but last summer they were pretty tight and I put them in a bottom drawer.  They fit perfectly now - I tried them all on to make sure.  Woo hoo!

As I have said, today started with a bit of a rush.  I had planned a food shop today and, as frozen avocado chunks were on the list and I can only get them in M&S, off to the clock tower retail park I went straight after SW, first to M&S and then across to Aldi.  It's all done and put away now and I won't go hungry, the amount of fruit and veg I have.

I'm taking it easy for the rest of the day.  It feels odd not to be listening for the cleaners arriving but I'm glad because this cold is really hanging around and, while I'm not feeling any worse, I'm not feeling much better either (please forgive the whinge).  So I am just going to chill, do bits and pieces if or when I feel like it and stay warm.  The house is 'cleaner-friendly' though - I'll probably aim for that state of affairs each Friday anyway, just to keep me motivated!

Have a lovely rest of day, everyone.  xx

Thursday 11 January 2024


 Morning, everyone.  I'm finally back to waking at daft o'clock which actually suits me much better.  I do like to get everything organised and ready before bath and whatever exercise class it is at 9:15 and I was finding it a bit or a rush at times.

I went a bit spendy yesterday but it was on essentials.  
I'm down to my last bag of salt pellets for the water softener so I ordered more - they are must haves.
Also - and I am a bit ashamed to admit this - because the cleaners have always brought what they need with them, I didn't really have a cohesive collection of cleaning products.  I had some, of course, but I needed to get them together and be sensible and rational about it all.  I looked at what I had, noted what needed replacing and set forth to Home Bargains.
And, to my utter disgrace, it is so long since I used my floor steam cleaner, I had to look up the instructions.  Ooops.  At least I have a steam cleaner - that's helpful!

However, to counterbalance this bit of spendiness, I got an email from One Traveller regarding the refund for the excursion that had to be cancelled due to bad weather.  I sent off my details and got a reply saying allow up to fourteen days for it to land.
But, when I checked a bit later on, there it was.  Maybe they meant fourteen minutes!
That's a little bit moved across into savings seeing as it came out of savings in the first place.  Good start!

One result of Lindsey re-organising and 'rationalising' her class times - it did need doing - is that four of the classes I do now all start at 9:15 - circuits, Groove and two SET classes.  In a way, that's helpful, but add Slimming World to the mix and it does mean that the only day I can do an early morning shop now is Wednesday.  Yesterday I went to Home Bargains, intending to go on to B&M for what I couldn't get in HB.  However, they had everything on my list so I was able to come straight home.

After sorting that out, I started on my bedroom; it's going to take more than one session to finish it properly.  It's not bad, it just needs a bit more organising and yesterday I gave it the weekly clean too.  

Personal training was, as always, good.  Two years ago, I would have been a quivering jelly after having three weeks off so there's definitely some good progress there.  

Then, in the evening, I caught up with the festive recording on Sewing Bee.  Part of it, anyway; I fell asleep so will finish it today.  I loved both the Brussels sprout and the carrot costumes - very clever!

Today, being Thursday, starts with SET online, then Chris is round for coffee and chat and after that I will continue sorting my bedroom out.  Will I get it finished - no idea, but I'll get more done, for sure.

What are your plans for today?

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Wednesday, 10-01-24: Enjoyment

Morning, everyone!  It's Wednesday already.  Where is the week going?  I guess it has been quite busy so far what with exercise classes starting as well as clearing and decluttering.

Groove was really good.  Chris and I walked there and back and, between all of that and the to-ing and fro-ing of the rest of the day, I managed 12,800+ steps.  Goodness me!
All the Christmas stuff is now tucked away again, all neat, tidy and organised.  It took a while and I'm sure the lifting and carrying did me good.  That problem kitchen cupboard is all neat and tidy too which is great.  You would not believe what was hidden at the back of the high shelves!!

Today is just an at home day until personal training late afternoon and there's only one item on my list of Things To Do and that is my bedroom.  It's not bad, it's just rather disorganised and I want to see if there's anything that can be taken to Lindsey's charity sale, quite apart from reorganising it all.  Wish me luck!

My last word for 2024 is 'Enjoyment'  
enjoyment (noun as in delight in something) Strongest matches. amusement fun gratification happiness indulgence joy luxury pleasure recreation relaxation satisfaction thrill. Strong matches. delectation diversion entertainment fruition gladness gusto hedonism rejoicing relish savor self-indulgence sensuality triumph
Well, not all of them are things I am particularly looking for or want to feel/experience but some are.
Really, I am just thinking about making the best of everything, looking for enjoyment in all those small things of life rather than hankering after the enjoyment from the bigger things - which are all very well in their way but usually out of reach for most and dwelling on them is more likely to cause discontent, envy, feelings of 'deprivation', etc.
Anyway - what I am after is an act of will - to look for the many good things in my life, to live in the present and - well - to enjoy it!  After such a 'big' year in 2023, I need and want to work on enjoying the smaller things again.

So - economy, energy and enjoyment.  What would yours be?

. . . which reminds me - I didn't update my finances yesterday - better do it now.  😇

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Tuesday, 09-01-24: Energy!

Morning, everyone!  It's turned right cold around here and we even had some wintry white stuff.  Not much, admittedly, we rarely do in this neck of the woods, but it was definitely snow and not the predicted sleet.

Here you go - proof!

I finally got the Christmas Tree dismantled and all the decorations tucked away in their rightful boxes.  However, I'm still feeling a little fragile, it was cold and damp and I just didn't want to venture out so everything is stacked up by the French window.  I nearly took a photo but decided not to expose you to such a sight.
I've got my thermal over-trousers on for our walk to Groove in around fifteen minutes so when I get back I'll keep them on and do it all then.  That way, I stay warm.

Today is Groove and then clearing, tidying, decluttering and sorting out.  Once I've done the Christmas stuff, I want to tackle that kitchen cupboard.  Wish me luck!

The second of my three words for 2024 is 'energy'.
I Googled 'Energy'.
What is the simple definition of energy?
Energy is the ability to do work
Scientists define energy as the ability to do work. Modern civilization is possible because people have learned how to change energy from one form to another and then use it to do work.
Perfect!  Reduce it down to one person and that's what I want this year!
As we get older, we know that, realistically, we are likely to have reduced physical energy.  However, as someone who has been very overweight for pretty much all my adult life, I have more physical energy now than I have had for many decades and I want to maintain, use and encourage that as much as I can.  Look out, Lindsey, here I come!

As far as mental energy is concerned, I'm aware that my memory isn't what it was, but I do Sudoku and other mental exercise stuff and I hope that is helping.  Also, I think that if the mind is feeling lacklustre and weary, it impacts on everything else, so I want to focus on it a bit more - not quite sure how yet but I think it could be important.
However, I am better at recognising when I just need to step back and rest.  Acceptance is a form of mental energy, it doesn't have to be all up-and-doing stuff.  I have you people to thank for that with your encouraging and helpful comments so many thanks.
And perhaps I need to think about what I am feeding my mind with in 2024.

I resorted to Google again for emotional energy.
Emotional energy is how we feel about what is going on in our lives: our work, our relationships, ourselves, and our general situation. Understanding your emotions and getting better at emotional regulation is important because our wellbeing is directly impacted by how we feel.
I think I am OK with this one but that doesn't mean I don't need to stay aware and appreciative of everyone and everything in my small world and balance the positively with all the rubbish going on in the world right now.

One more - Enjoyment - tomorrow.

Monday 8 January 2024

Monday, 08-01-24: Economy!

 Morning, peoples!!
Today is really where my New Year starts.  The weekend was mopping up the mess from the holiday but today Lindsey starts her classes again and I am so glad.

Yesterday I waffled on about the past year and those three Cs.  I don't 'do' resolutions, as I have often said, but there's nothing wrong with a few flexible goals and a few words that, perhaps, encapsulate them.
So when I was thinking about goals, moving on from last year taking the best of it with me, where I would like to be at the end of 2024, three words came to mind that all start with the same letter (it makes them easier to remember!).

They are Economy, Energy and Enjoyment.  I pondered Excellence before decided I really didn't need that kind of pressure and it was way too OFSTED-y for my liking anyway.

First, Economy.
I looked up some definitions.  Some referred to national economy but the gist was the best use of resources for the benefit (or otherwise) of the community.
That's me - and my family!
I think what I have in mind touches on frugality, thriftiness, good management, all those words that we use when we want to define a sensible, careful use of our 'physical' resources, both financial and other.

Basically, I am happy with the way my finances are operating.  I'm not going into details but I have long term, medium and shorter term savings.  I am able to save a proportion of my monthly income which goes out automatically.  I now have the ex-cleaning money that also will be transferred automatically.  And I know I am very, very fortunate.
So I need to monitor my spending very carefully and daily as much as I can and (something I used to do but stopped for a while with bits of money coming in from Mum and Dad's inheritance and because everything was a bit haywire with the big projects, at the end of each month) any leftover/unused income  will be moved into short term savings which need to build up again rather than using it for stuff I really don't need.
As far as my other resources are concerned, I want to finish sorting and decluttering various areas of my home, sooner rather than later.  Starting today!

This has gone on longer than I thought so I'll leave the other two for tomorrow.

Today, apart from Lindsey's circuits class, I MUST take down that Christmas tree.  I didn't do it at the weekend because I just wasn't feeling up to all the bending, lifting and carrying that would entail although I did sort out the other decorations.
If I have time left over, there's one big cupboard in the kitchen that is top of the decluttering list.  I might start that!

Have a lovely day, everyone.  Stay warm, stay safe and enjoy what you're doing.  xx

Sunday 7 January 2024

Sunday, 07-01-24: a review - long post alert

Morning, everyone.  It's turned colder here and we have a frost.  I missed the terrible weather over Christmas and New year, if course, but we heard about it and I am relieved that
a.  it's settled somewhat
b.  everything round this way seems to be safe and sound - it was reassuring that Chris and Beth were both keeping an eye on things so I would have heard if there had been any damage.
I like frosts - they feel invigorating!

I was so tired yesterday - post holiday crash, I expect, plus the end of a cold.  I got the washing finished, the ironing done and some stuff away and will get the last remaining bits sorted this morning.  I could/should have done it yesterday but didn't!

What I did do was . . .
make three loaves of bread, two wholemeal as usual and one dark rye/spelt one.  They had this delicious Scandinavian dark rye seeded bread on offer in the eating places and I fell in love with it.  What I made isn't the same but it is jolly good, all the same, so I am happy!
some knitting.  I took a small project away with me but did very little of it so I'm getting on with it now.
some reading, mainly using Readly to catch up on food magazines.
some snoozing - not as much as I thought i might but that was OK, I was resting anyway.
some planning - meals and housework!
lots and lots of catching up with Christmas telly.  Doctor Who was not quite what I expected but I enjoyed it so much and I'm looking forward to the start of the new series now; and I am so pleased that Would I Lie To You is back on.  It's so funny!

Today is more of the same really.

I was having a little ponder about this last year (as you do) thinking 'better late than never'.  I started off the year with three words that sort of encapsulated where I wanted things to go through 2023.
They were contentment, consistency and confidence - the three Cs!

How could I not be content?  I'm very lucky.  However, I did try to move outside my box a bit and found contentment there too.  It's not about just sitting back and letting life slide.  I love finding joy in the small things.

I think I have developed more consistency in small ways this year.  I started the year with some areas in a right muddle but now I am managing my finances much better, keeping an eye on them pretty much daily; I have a number of small daily 'housework' habits established that I feel happy about then they are done (such as cleaning round the kitchen, bathroom and loo; making my bed properly every day; keeping up with the washing and ironing - that sort of thing).  I've kept up with my friendships, meeting up regularly for coffee, chat, lunch, etc. ;   I've developed much more consistent eating habits which have helped me to get to my target weight and stay there, more or less - not right now after the holiday, of course, but I have set a plan in action to deal with that; and, finally, I have been really consistent with my exercise, thanks to Lindsey's classes and encouragement.
There's plenty of room for development in this area but I'm happy with how things have gone.

Confidence?  Now that's an interesting one for me.  Being an introvert, it is very easy to muddle that with lack of confidence - perhaps they are linked, perhaps they are not.  What has happened this year is that I have started to accept that I'm not all that outgoing;  I don't jump in at the deep end in anything, I think and plan and withdraw at times - and it's OK to be like that, it is absolutely fine.  We're not all outgoing extroverts, thank goodness.  So I think I am much more confident with what I naturally am and the way I like and want to live my life and I am learning to say 'no' when needed.  I'm happy with that.

There's been some big things this last year. 
Solar panels for a start.  My goodness, the difference they have made to my summer electricity bills in particular.  It will be a number of years before they actually pay for themselves but the lighter bills have definitely softened the blow of all those other price rises.
Garden room/shed.  You must be absolutely fed up of hearing about this but I am so glad I was able to have it done.  It's changed the garden vibes, of course, and that is an ongoing work but already I am seeing the benefits in better organisation of all my stuff.
Then there was the cruise.  All I am saying is that it was the chance of a lifetime and I am so, so glad I was able to go.

Then there's been loads of smaller things, some connected with the above and some now.
I have much less yarn stashed away and I have dropped plenty of new hand knits in the Salvation Army recycling bin.
Clothes are much more organised and sorted - it's an ongoing process, of course, and I already have a small pile to take to Lindsey for a charity event she is running.  However, I don't have things that I 'might slim into' any more; nor do I have any 'just in case' bigger sized clothes.  They have all gone!
Through the year, I went through pretty much every cupboard in the house and decluttered.
I now have one freezer rather than the two I previously had.  Seth took the unwanted one to use.  Linked to that, I've organised the contents and have fairly up to date audits.  Everything is now in bags and items no longer get lost in the chilly depths.
OK, the garage is currently a bit of a mess but it is part of the whole Garden room thing and I want to get all that sorted through January and February, depending on weather.

That's all that comes to mind but I have really enjoyed thinking it all through - you don't realise, do you, how much 'stuff' gets done over time.

If you've made it to the end, thank you and congratulations!
Have a lovely Sunday and stay warm.  xx

Saturday 6 January 2024

Saturday, 06-01-24

 Good morning, everyone.  It's such a pleasant morning,l dry and bright and a bit chilly.  Perfect for January!
Thank you all for your lovely comments yesterday.  Very cheering and motivating.  Perfect!

I decided that I would put the not-cleaning-any-more money into Premium Bonds rather than a savings account.  At the moment, my bonds are doing well each month - never a big win but those smaller wins each month (yes, really) are mounting up to a surprisingly good rate of interest.
I'll keep an eye on things but it isn't money I want to tie up longer term in any way so I'm happy with what I've decided for now.
So that's all set up now and I shouldn't notice any difference to my budget whatsoever - apart from the usual ones, I mean!

Moving on from that, I also want to do a belated New Year ponder over last year and what I would like to achieve this year.  I have a few ideas but would like to bed them down a bit more firmly into something practical.

The washing is pretty much done and dusted now.  There's some ironing but not loads and I don't mind ironing anyway.  I used to hate the school shirts and trousers but most stuff is OK.
As a result, I do have piles of clothes to sort out and put away.  All the Christmas jumpers need to vanish for eleven months and I am getting out all those I wasn't inspired to wear this year and donating them on.  I need to find somewhere for my thermals too, or they will just get absorbed into the general stuff and be hard to find.

So that's on the list for today.  However, apart from putting stuff away, ironing and the usual daily stuff (kitchen, loo and bathroom mostly), I'm resting up.  This cold is 'breaking up' as we say, so I am disgustingly spluttery, snuffly and revolding and also pretty 'chesty' and achey.  I have knitting, I have loads of recordings on the telly and I will probably have a few snoozes too.
Not such a bad life, is it?  :-)

And then tomorrow, assuming I feel OK, I need to sort out the Christmas Tree and the few bits and bobs I decorated the house with.   I don't want to but . . .

Have a great Saturday, everyone.  xx

Friday 5 January 2024

Friday, 05-01-24: back to normal

. . . what passes for normal, anyway!

Good morning, everyone.  How are you all doing?  First of all, I want to say again a big thank you to everyone who stuck with me while I lived a dream over the past two weeks, whether you commented or not.  It was so lovely to know you were all reading and, I hope, enjoying the words and the photos.

Disembarking yesterday was an absolute doddle.  Between the excellent Fred.Olsen system and our One Traveller group manager's support, we were ushered pretty seamlessly through the whole process which was hardly complicated anyway.  The only blip was that we had to wait for our driver because we were off ship earlier than the time he had been given so we had to hang around for a short time.  Hardly a hardship and the sun was shining!

As for the actual drive home, it was a dream - so much easier than going because there was no unexpected traffic and no hold-ups so I was home by before twelve, Diane having been dropped off first.

What an experience it has been!  It's going to take a while to completely process it all but I have memories that will last me the rest of my life, I hope.  The snow, the scenery, the snow capped mountains, the cliffs, the excursions, the life on board . . . phew.

I still don't have any photos of the Northern Lights to share - I'll post some as soon as I do.

When I got home, the first thing I did was make a coffee - no, go to the loo, then make a coffee.  Two hours in I had . . .
had several coffees
read the gas meter and sent the readings off (Very Important)
reset the heating thermostat
turned on  the Christmas Tree lights - may as well enjoy them for a few more days
done a fairly big shop
sorted out washing all over the kitchen floor
put one load in
got out both drying racks
emptied one suitcase and my tech bag
and, just for once
put everything straight away in proper homes rather than shifting piles around.

How organised is that then, eh?

Then I crashed, sat down, turned on the telly and started catching up on YouTube while falling asleep more than once.  I tried to stay up for longer because of the hour time change but was wide awake at three thirty this morning.  That will settle in the next few days.

So, today . . .
As usual, on a Friday, I start with Slimming World.  I've had a little online chat with Jen and won't be weighing for a few weeks while I get back into normality again.  I can leave eight weeks between weighs, if I want, but I won't, I will set myself a date two or three weeks hence and work towards that.  It's not a big deal but, obviously, I want to get back to where I was before Christmas.

Then I have one case to unpack and that's all the unpacking done.  I have one load of washing in as I type (it's about half past four a.m.), one load dry and either in the ironing basket or folded to go away and one load still damp and I'm reckoning another two loads to go in, one of which will have to be very gentle as it's all the sparkly turn-it-inside-out-and-hope stuff

I'd also like to get some meals planned.  My shopping yesterday was all fresh stuff - fruit and veg mainly plus some meat, cheese, etc and a few things for colds.  It was actually really nice to be starting from scratch with an empty fridge and, certainly, easier to put everything away without stuff to move to the front, etc.
Anyway, I reckon I have enough fresh stuff to last me a while now.

What I don't have to do for the first time in decades is get my house cleaner-ready.  That's because I no longer have cleaners coming in each week.
No, I haven't been a bad client or anything but, because of the way the company I used worked (using cleaners from their home country who come over to work for them for a spell and then go home again) combined with various political restrictions in place now or threatening to be put in place, they can't get the staff (as the saying goes) any more.  I'm not going to get all political, this isn't what this blog is about, so no further comment from me or from you, please, but it's sad.

I did ponder whether I should get someone else - there are other local companies - but decided that this was perhaps an opportunity to be grasped.  Let's face it, I have been remarkably fortunate in this particular area since I retired and very grateful for it.  Before then, it was a necessity really but now I can very easily do my own cleaning and I certainly do have the time.  A bit of a chore and bore, maybe, but a great way to save a bit of money each month.  And I do mean save, not spend - I want to start a holiday savings account.
What will work for me is to organise it all into daily stuff.  Monday - steam clean the floors (more of them now I have a garden room, of course), Tuesday, bedrooms . . . etc.  Not rigid but organised.  I can do that very easily.
So I also want to get that up and running.

And if I really hate it, I can always look for someone and be very thankful that I can.

Goodness, haven't I rambled on!!  If you've made it this far, congratulations on your endurance and stamina!  I'll stop now and let you get on.
Have a wonderful day, whatever your plans.  Stay safe and keep warm and dry!  xx

Thursday 4 January 2024

Cruise day 14

I forgot to mention yesterday that when we emerged from our cabins yesterday, we found pretty much all the festive decorations had vanished overnight.  Such a shame and it reminded me that when I get home, I have my own decorations to deal with.  I'll probably schedule that for Sunday; a few days late, I know, but never mind.

Anyway, it is the last day really - the cruise company might count tomorrow as a 'day' but, given we have to be out of our cabins by 8:00, I don't.
Annoyingly, over the last three days or so, someone has generously shared their bugs with me and I have a right stonking cold, causing others in the group to look sort of 'sideways' and avoid being too near.  Very understandable, I think.  I'm feeling a bit rough this morning so I'm spending it in my cabin.  I can finish off all the packing and generally get things sorted, plan my shopping list for tomorrow afternoon, plan a few days' meals and generally get back into the swing of normal life again.

The sun is shining brightly into my cabin but there is also a bit of snow in the air.  It is nice to be having 'proper' (to me) days and nights again.  I guess our body clock is tuned to what we have always experienced and it would take more than a few days to change this.  
The packing is all pretty much done apart from stuff to go in the hand luggage.  We have to put our two main cases outside the cabin this evening and pick it up off ship when we go through customs.  This means I should have a nice, easy afternoon and evening which is great.  
Then, tomorrow, we have very clear instructions from Steve to guide us through the whole process until the chauffeur picks us up.  It should all be very straightforward - fingers crossed.

Feeling a bit better after some meds and a sleep so, as I wasn't coughing and spluttering and spreading my germs far and wide (after a morning of not talking) . . .

. . . we enjoyed our last afternoon tea up in the Observatory lounge . . .
. . . while the Balmoral trio played soothing and civilised music in the background.

As a contrast, earlier, we went to the concert given by the ukulele group and the choir.  I took some photos but they're terrible, sorry. 
It was fun.

Now were having a bit of down time before the next challenge - pre dinner drinks.  Such hardship!!


A nice house salad for starters.  I've had this a lot - it's always been lovely and fresh.

I chose a mixed grill for mains.  Big mistake - literally BIG . . .
Before . . .

. . . and after.

Oh, well!

I'm back in my cabin, the two big cases are ready to be put outside and my 'hand' luggage is bulging at the seams.  I'm glad I don't have to carry any of it that far tomorrow.

I'm going to shut up the laptop now and schedule this to go tomorrow morning.  Then it will all be back to normal again, home with stacks and stacks of washing.

Thanks very much for following me through my Christmas adventure and for such lovely comments.  I will re-read and reply to some, maybe do a Q&A (or perhaps I mean  C (comment) &A) post and then we move on into 2024.

Have a great day.  xx

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Cruise day 13

A pretty choppy night and we're sailing through a snowstorm at the moment.  At least the spray seems to have cleaned my window temporarily!  

Wow, it really is very choppy, worse than coming up.  I'm not sure this clip shows quite how choppy it is really.  It's OK, nothing terribly scary, but getting about is interesting and I feel for the less mobile among us.
It's got worse since then but it predicted to ease off somewhat by tomorrow.

After lunch, I went to the wine tasting that One Traveller had arranged instead of afternoon tea.

It was good.  Five wines - a prosecco, a Chardonnay, a rose, a red and a dessert wine.  He talked about each one and we sipped them.  Then he told us which cheese to have with each wine and to not whether it enhanced the flavour of each (which it did, of course).
I didn't fill in the notes - I never know what to write - but I will remember what he said about if you want something that will go well with any cheese, a good port wine will do the trick every time.

I'm back in the cabin now.  First I want to do some packing and sorting out, followed by getting dressed for dinner (optional formal) and then a chill before we meet for drinks.

It's now bedtime and I am shattered.  The show this evening was taken by the crew - there were dancing and songs from various parts of the world and some very funny items too.  It was good - well done to them all.
I'm pretty much packed now so can enjoy the last full day with a clear conscience.

How has your day been?  Good, I hope.  xx

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Cruise day 12

Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to Jan 1st (2nd by the time I send this) and a Happy New Year.  Did you enjoy your celebrations or was it a case of 'just another evening and early bed'.  Mine is usually the latter but as the morning goes on into the afternoon, most of us in the One Traveller group are feeling a bit the worse for wear.  
Each morning, we always have a get together with Steve from ten onward but we were decidedly thin on the ground.  We put a team together to do the morning quiz and didn't do too badly - 15/20 is respectable.

On the second day, Steve gave out One Traveller quiz sheets to fill in and return.  I did mine there and then and handed it back.  He marked them today and guess what - I got the highest marks - not that any of us scored all that many - 13.5 isn't brilliant.

Diane and I were going to walk the deck but, as we left the shelter of the fjords, it became decidedly rocky so it put paid to our fitness plans!!  We're down in our cabins having rest time before lunch.  This afternoon there is afternoon tea (will try to remember to take a photo) and, as always, pre-dinner drinks when Steve gives out any notices or information.

I took a little clip from my cabin window.  The glass is pretty mucky by now, as you can see, but it was so lovely to see the sun and the white seahorse waves.

The lovely weather didn't last for long and now it's pretty choppy so we must be hitting the North Sea again.  That's life, I guess.

I spent a lot of the afternoon in my cabin, catching up on sleep so missed the afternoon tea - not that I needed it in any way whatsoever.   Pre dinner drinks was fun - one of our group won a bottle of bubbly in a quiz and shared it with the rest of us - those who wanted some, that is.  Dinner was, as always, absolutely amazing - I'm going to have to do some adjusting when I get home.

Then it was the show, the Balmoral singers and dancers who did a fantastic job despite increasingly unsure footing as it got more choppy.
Diane and I decided that we needed our beauty sleep much more than we needed the late evening's entertainment so I'm now in my cabin getting this finished.

Tomorrow is another cruising day as we head back to Southampton and I need to start thinking about packing.  So sad but all good things come to an end and it'd been the most amazing time.  I hope you have also had a lovely day, whatever you have done.
I'll set this to go live tomorrow early morning!

Monday 1 January 2024

Cruise day 11

Morning, everyone!  It's New Year's Eve and I have a muggy head from last nights lateness and, perhaps, a bit from that last drink.  Nothing that a coffee or two won't solve though.

As I think most of us do, I've been pondering on this last year with all its adventures and challenges and also looking ahead a little bit.  I won't be posting about it all, though, until I am home and settled again.  Better late than never.

We're docked at Alesund, leaving again at about 01:00, after the New Year celebrations and the fireworks.
We (Diane and I) did the organised 'walk a mile' thing this morning rather than on our own earlier and it was really good.  We 'horseshoed' around as the front was extremely windy and every 'lap' we stopped and did a few other exercises.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and am rather inclined to continue this and make it habit once I get home, especially now I have super-warm clothes that have proved themselves in Arctic temperatures and winds.  I have a sort of aim to do at least around 5,000 steps each day and it would surely help with this.
I took some photos which get lighter as sunrise neared.  Just general shots and there seem to be quite a lot - just scroll past if they're too samey!  :-).

After that, Diane went to read and I went to a talk on Norwegian myths and their possible origins.  It was a bit 'dry' but really interesting; I'm glad I went.

I'm currently in my cabin after an early lunch.  Later on, we have a coach tour of Alesund and then it is the New Year's Eve posh do.  We're not going to have all that much time to prepare after the tour so I want to wash my hair now and get my clothes, etc, all ready.
So I had better start, hadn't I?
Back later

8:20, New Year's Day
Didn't get this finished yesterday, sorry.

The trip around Alesund was a bit disappointing really.  Not because there was anything wrong with Alesund, it's a lovely town, made up of three main islands and, after a disastrous fire in 1906, many houses and other buildings were rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style.

However, it was later afternoon so getting rapidly darker and we could see very little, we couldn't go up Mount Aksla because of dodgy roads (no one's fault, but . . . ) and the tour guide wasn't that good - very droney and monotonous and some of us fell asleep - I may or may not have been one of them. 

However, we did stop at one point and were invited to get out and take photos.  Most didn't but, as it was very icy underfoot, I decided to test out the Yaktraxs and they were fantastic!  The snow was like UK snow rather than the lovely Arctic snow, nasty and icy and pretty slippery but I felt completely secure and didn't slip once.  Definitely a win so thank you to everyone who recommended them.

It was a bit of a rush to get dressed for dinner, a posh, seven course meal (if you wanted that much) and absolutely delicious.  At this point I need to apologise for the recent lack of food photos - we've all got so social, I'm talking/listening too much and just forget!

Then it was the entertainment and the New Year party.  Alesund put on a lovely firework display in the harbour for those of us on boats and I managed to catch a few OK photos.  Here you go . . .

It was altogether a fab party with a good old singsong after the countdown and the fireworks and we finally made pout way to our respective cabins at around one.  

Now, I'm a bit tired but feeling far better than I deserve.  There's no organised Mile Walk so we may do our own if the decks are safe.
Today we're cruising along the Norwegian coastline, passing by Hornelen, Norway and Europe's highest sea cliff.  Then we head out into the North Sea so fingers crossed for decent conditions!

There's just time to wish all of us  . . .

Thank you for sticking with me, reading and commenting and generally all being lovely people.  May you realise your dreams in 2024.