Wednesday, 28 January 2015

No Time to Write

I'm forging ahead with my projects, and clutter is leaving the house every day. Most of the files of documentation from my old businesses have already hit the dust, which feels like weight lifting off me. (Sorry about the mixed metaphors/similes, but they just seem appropriate). I have photographed a box of reusable files, dividers and empty file pockets and put an ad on Gumtree to see if anyone local to Poole and Bournemouth is in need of such items.

My recycling bin is already heavy with all the paper I've removed, so I've already pushed it from the back to the front of the house ready for the next collection. Otherwise I might find it difficult to move it on my own. Another two bags of hubby's clothing have been put out for charity.

It's still a slow process, punctuated by family visits, a day out with a friend, singing on Friday afternoons, and the daily dog walks. Jade and I have been exploring a new area of Upton Country Park which has just been opened, with new trails to follow. At the weekend I had Eryn and Rafi to stay and we had a glorious walk along the beach below Highcliffe Castle where I handed them back to my daughter on Sunday, so she could drive them northwards back to London while I turned westward for home.

I have also completed a tax return for my son, who will get a nice rebate, and one for myself,with the amount due paid up. Despite all these distractions, the projects are coming along. What I haven't been doing is writing. You probably noticed a dearth of blog posts in the last week. I realise I need to rectify this or it will be hard to get going again. While removing old articles from old files, I realise that some of them can also be recycled for my portfolio at Constant Content, so will have plenty of ideas when I come back to that. In the meantime, I'd better keep on blogging.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Three Generation Selfie


I'm not a great fan of selfies, but I think this one, taken by Eryn, works quite well. The five of us were on the beach at Ferring near Worthing, a few days after Christmas in bright sunny weather. I'm the on on the right, next to my daughter. She is next to her Auntie Hazel, sister of my first late husband. Finally we have a good friend of Hazel's. The only ones missing from this still are the dogs. We mostly had the beach to ourselves and all enjoyed the walk and finding our way over or around all the groins. Eryn thought it was great, and was as energetic as the dogs, shedding her coat while the rest of us needed to stay bundled up.




Friday, 16 January 2015

The Last New Year

Yesterday my bedtime reading was part of North Country Cache by Joan Young (referred to in this previous post), in which she spent New Year’s Eve camping and hiking the North Country National Trail in sub-zero conditions. It made me think of the recent 2014 New Year’s Eve, which I spent hunkering down on a cosy sofa with my daughter, granddaughter and two dogs. We watched the start of Jules Holland, but switched over to the BBC to watch a bit of Queen and the countdown and fireworks. We all agreed that we were in a much better place than the hordes of people who had paid over their £10 for a ringside place standing up in the cold for hours.



Then I realised that my granddaughter didn’t know how to sing Auld Lang Syne, or what to do with her hands and arms. So a lesson ensued and we ended up doing our own threesome version with two sitting side by side and the small person standing in front of us. The dogs were goggle eyed. They must have thought we’d gone bananas.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Projects and Dog Walks

I currently have two projects on the go in tandem. One is to clear everything out of the converted garage, which is currently used as my office plus a general glory hole for things that don't have a home elsewhere. My aim is to change it into a bedroom that I can use when I don't want to go upstairs. Eventually I will move my computer and a few files into the alcove in the kitchen/diner sthat used to be the kitchen before the back extension was added. This also means putting in an additional indow to get some light in there. I have the window and just need to find a builder to put in  a lintel and fit it for me.

The second project is to remove my late husband's belongings from the house. Of course this will need decisions made about what keepsakes I can't bear to part with. Today I found all his plastic cards and cut them up, just keeping the driving licence which I can now send back to DVLC together with the paper copy. Shirts are now out of our shared wardrobe, all folded nicely and in piles on the bed in the little bedroom. I'm waiting for a stepdaughter to let me know if any of them would be welcomed by her partner who is the most likely person they might fit. My son is talking about doing a car boot sale as he says men's clothes are in demand. But I can't leave it too long and may just end up taking them to a charity shop.

Both of these projects I find very daunting, so I've been procrastinating for days, but at last have started to get into them. I'm already finding many things I thought had been lost for years. One was my son's Government Gateway access details which we couldn't find last January so that he could submit his tax return. Of course those are now all changed, so I hope I can find them again in the next day or so!

The pic is of hubby with Jade in 2012 during our holiday in Cornwall. Fortunately I do have to take time off from my projects to go out with Jade. Today we bumped into a friend also dog walking and did the country park circuit together. It made a pleasant change to have company again and chat as we walked. The dogs got extremely muddy and Jade had to go in the shower when we got home, although I only washed her legs and belly. She was really good about it and hopped into the downstairs shower cubicle and stood there really patiently while I knelt outside and reached in to shampoo the offending areas and then rinse them. Her white bits are white again now.

Monday, 12 January 2015

In the Deep of the Night

It's 5 am here and I'm not usually working on my laptop at this time of the morning, but after Jade woke me at 2.30 needing to go out, I just couldn't get back to sleep. Jade came upstairs again with me after her toilet break - her night time bed is next to mine in the bedroom - but as soon as we'd settled down and I turned out the light, she hotfooted back downstairs again. It seemed that the call of her favourite bed on the floor of the dining area was greater than being with her mum. This is unusual and it bothered me. I kept wondering if she was ok, but thought she'd let me know if there was a real problem.

It was probably my own fault. Jade usually goes out after 10 pm before we get ready for bed, but last night I was dog tired and could hardly keep my eyes open. Soon after eight, I took her out to the public green next to our house, then went to bed at an unheard of early hour. I was probably asleep before nine. Don't think I'll be making that mistake again.

After reading some more of North Country Cache, at 3.15, I took a Rescue Night Melt and sprayed my pillow with lavender sleep therapy, but nothing helped me to drop off. Eventually I gave up and came down to find Jade curled up and sleeping on the aforementioned favourite bed. I cooked some rice ready for her breakfast - she's still on her diet so doesn't get her Hills until the evening. I did some ironing and then remembered I hadn't written my blog post yesterday. I made some hot chocolate and buttered some bread, which woke Jade up as so she could ponce her share (so much for the diet). Now here we are. Time has moved on and it's nearly 5.20. My alarm will go off as usual at 7.15. I wonder if I can sleep again for an hour or so.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Holiday Activities

You may think it's a bit late to be discussing what we did over the holiday, but it's good to look back, and I haven't really had time before now. The days were deliberately planned to be busy, and I didn't have time to be morbid.

I drove north to London and arrived on my daughter's last day of working as a childminder. She then had two whole weeks of days off, and I stayed for all of them. Every morning we went for long walks with our two dogs. Jade just adores going out with Rafi and gets lots more exercise than she ever does when I take her out on my own. The first pic was taken in Richmond Park on Boxing Day morning, when the two of them were taking a break from galloping around. When one of them goes, the other soon follows, and this was a rare opportunity to catch them being relatively still.


Eryn and her Uncle Sye were on the roadway that follows the line of trees. They were taking turns on the new skateboard that was one of Eryn's Christmas presents. Although there weren't any cars, there were lots of people on bikes so we opted to leave them to it and take the dogs round the off-road loops.

The afternoon of Christmas Eve we had left  them in the house so we could take the half hour train journey to London to visit the Christmas market on the South Bank and see the spectacular Christmas lights in the West End. A couple of days later we left them again to go and see the Wizard of Oz panto in Epsom. It was full of good, clean fun and we were really impressed as usual. We've found that The Epsom Playhouse always puts on a great panto that we often enjoy much more than more expensive ones with big names in them. As well as their professionals they also recruit local talent, and some of the little munchkins were known to Eryn and her mum.

The following day we had a visit from my stepdaughter and her son,  exchanged more presents, and had yet more fun. The day after that it was off to the coast to see more of the extended family and have a bracing walk on the beach at Ferring near Worthing, which the dogs appreciated as well, although they wouldn't stand still long enough to capture them on film. You can see how lucky we were with the weather that day. Even the wind went elsewhere.


Other days were filled with catching up with different friends over lunch, and we had one  evening at a pub with a couple of  other families, where I met, by chance, one of my hubby's old drinking mates from years ago. I drove home with Jade on Tuesday and we have now settled back into routine. All the above seems like a lovely dream I'll keep in mind till the next time.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A Winning Book

I was lucky enough to be one of the winners of Sharkbyte's competition before Christmas, and she sent me the book in which she chronicled her treks along the North Country National Scenic Trail from 1991 to 2005. It was waiting for me inside my letter box when I got back from two weeks away at my daughter's over the holidays.

Over the last few years, I have been really impressed by Joan's meticulous and creative way of expressing herself in her books and her blogs. This is the only book of hers I haven't read. and it makes more dense reading than the others, but broken up in chapters that could almost stand alone. I've already made a start on it, and not been disappointed, but will take my time to savour the pages and  the scenery and episodes she describes so well.

Since this trail is in another country on another continent, and I am well into my dotage, I don't expect to be able to experience it for myself, but perhaps I'll be inspired to walk further afield around here.

I did once do a three day hike on The Ridgeway, dropping down to a couple of interesting B&Bs on the way, but that 30 or so miles can hardly compare with the 2300+ covered in the book. I just remember how good it felt to be walking on the high ground and viewing the wonderful panorama of countryside spread out below.

You can see more info about this book and others by Joan Young here.


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