Monday, 9 February 2015

Things that Make me Smile

I am feeling very chuffed today. I've been quietly getting on with my project of dismantling my home office and getting rid of all the business documentation I can. It's quite a task with files that date back to 1995 when I set up as a marketing consultant, specialising in targeting and tendering, in partnership with a former colleague after we were both made redundant.

Some years before that I had started writing a novel on my old Amstrad WP, then shelved it when life became far too busy. Several years ago, I turned my house upside-down trying to find my hard copy and resurrect it, but had no success. I thought I must have accidentally destroyed it, and although it was still all in my head, I lost heart and gave up on it again.

I should have known better. Just this morning it has turned up in a file marked writing ideas which I obviously haven't opened in donkey's years. So that has put a big smile on my face.

What else is new? The weather - Tuesday last week I was writing about snow. The last couple of days Jade and I have been out walking in sunshine. Yesterday I managed to park on the cliff top outside the harbour, and we walked down the chine to the ocean.

Once we were there, Jade shot off to gallop around on the beach. She  must have suddenly realised I wasn't with her because she then turned to high-tail it back.

Photos by Chris Downer (2007)

The trouble was she didn't see me as she thundered straight past and went hairing off down the promenade dodging the legs of all the walkers. She soon realised her mistake though, heard I was calling her from behind, and turned around and came back so we could have some fun on the sand before taking a zig-zag path back up the car.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015


Yes, we woke up to some snow this morning. Quite surprised actually, and rather gutted actually, because two days ago, after sheltering my latest purchase of potted daffodil bulbs on the kitchen windowsill for several days, I decided it was safe to plant them out because the cold snap in the north of the country hadn't reached us properly here in the south. I suppose I was asking for it. Yesterday we had a sharp frost and then today, the snow.

Not a great deal but enough to make me put on the snow and ice stud belts (bought recently from the AA via the internet) over my boots when I took Jade to the park first thing. By the time we went out again after lunch the sun had chased all the snow away, and I felt safe driving my car. (I'm a real wimp about things like that.) So we had a brisk tramp harbourside around Hamworthy Park, with some beach play thrown in, and I took a blanket to wrap her in when I had to leave her in the Asda covered car park for a quarter of an hour. She was still under it and warm as toast when I returned to the car with my groceries.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

My Mistake

I posted something about a local crime, and it got to Google+ before I read a local paper that printed a plea from the police to leave it alone on social media. So I thought I'd better delete it. Sorry to anyone who tried to follow the link. In the fullness of time, you may be able to get the story.

But I will tell you that I've had a lovely visit from this lovely pair of great grandees today, with their parents of course.

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.

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