Saturday, 29 October 2011

RIP Jimmy Savile

I was really sad tonight to come home from the party and read of the death of Sir Jimmy, aged 84. He was a British legend, and I have many happy memories of Saturday nights watching "Jim'll Fix It" on tv when I was a child. He sat in a huge red chair, I think, smoking enormous cigars, dripping in gold! He "fixed" some amazing things - and he did an astounding amount of fundraising, for Stoke Mandeville Hospital as well as for other things. He ran marathons, too!

He was inspirational, and the world will be poorer for his loss.

Keep smiling!

Great plans don't always come to fruition, do they? I had hoped to be able to post more often here this week, but what with one thing and another, I just haven't had the time. As I have said before, reality has to come first!

I was delighted to read a list of the top 30 things that research has found make us happy. I want to share the list, so I have it here to come back to now and again. I am also really pleased that a lot of these things are cheap or even free!!

  1. Finding a £10 note in an old pair of jeans (well, I went one better the other week and found a £20 note in the pocket of my bodywarmer but made a note to be more careful with my cash!)
  2. Going on holiday (roll on next June)
  3. Getting into bed with freshly washed sheets (totally wonderful!)
  4. Swimming in the sea (not sure about that one - perhaps abroad but not here...)
  5. Waking up on a sunny day :-)
  6. Sitting in the sun (yep - even in the winter it's good if you are in the verandah)
  7. Being surprised with a gift of flowers (just last Friday!)
  8. Getting a nice message from a loved one
  9. Cuddles (All the time )
  10. Receiving a thank-you card in the post (sent my dad one last week for the lovely Sunday lunch)
  11. Seeing an elderly couple holding hands
  12. Driving a car with the window down on a sunny day
  13. Winning £10 on the National Lottery (well, you have to be in it to win it..)
  14. Booking your holiday (done that!)
  15. Hearing your favourite song
  16. Finding a bargain (my favourite sport)
  17. Seeing an old friend
  18. Picnic in the park
  19. Getting a promotion
  20. A romantic night out (must have a word with the FH about that)
  21. A song that reminds you of your past
  22. Looking at old photos
  23. Making a new friend
  24. Having a quiet moment to yourself
  25. Walks in the country
  26. Hearing a baby laugh (26/30? This one should be Much Higher on the list!)
  27. A girlie/lads night out
  28. Waking on a Saturday morning and realising it is the weekend (yes, but I still have to get up...)
  29. Chocolate
  30. Eating cake
Not sure how many women they polled for this research, but perhaps there were more men than women or else why was chocolate so low on the list?? This list was published in the Daily Mail today on p11. Worryingly, it says, "The hustle and bustle of everyday life means that the average person is only happy for half the week." I don't like the sound of that!

We have had a good week: the girls have each had a friend round on different nights for sleepovers, and one brought along a boxset of Merlin DVDs so they had a massive Merlin marathon! The YFG has been to the cinema twice, once with a birthday party gang, and the other with just one friend. She has seen Dolphin Tale and Monte Carlo, and reports enjoying them both. I think that Dolphin Tale is quite a tearjerker though. We have had some time at home, but the culmination of the week's activities for the girls must have been last night's Guides sleepover - I dropped them off at 5.30pm at a church hall in a neighbouring village, and collected them this morning at 11am. They have done an incident hike, apple bobbing and all sorts last night and then had a campfire this morning and toasted marshmallows. We have a closed Guiding group on Facebook so the leaders were able to share photos of the events as they progressed - they look like they had a load of fun, but they are shattered today. And we have a party to go to tonight, so they will have to find their second wind before 7pm...a friend in the village turns 60 so she is having a wee hoolie, and we are invited!

My achievement of the week has been completing a piece of knitting - a twirly scarf. I am quite pleased with it, but I did it in a multicoloured yarn and with hindsight I think it may be better in a solid colour, so I might do another wish I had a camera working so I could show you!!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sloe, sloe, quick, quick, sloe!

The sloes are in the gin, and are being shaken up occasionally. One litre bottle, one 75cl bottle and a kilner jar with what wouldn't fit back into the gin bottles. Never having made it before, I went for a middle of the range gin - not the Value/Basics version, nor a branded gin, but a Sainsbury's own brand at a respectable price.

I have sold three GPO pullets and a Cockerel to one of the FH's beekeeping mates for his sister's birthday present - he came and collected them this afternoon, so that was a little money in my pockets towards the £70 feed bill I will have to pay on Monday! I am going back to buying it in bulk as the feed shop's deliveries have been unreliable - it has been very frustrating the last twice I have been in there to find that they haven't had sufficient delivered and have sold out already.

We have watched "Strictly Come Dancing" tonight - and the two favourites are Chelsee and Jason at the moment - and there doesn't seem to be anyone else coming close! The rest will have to buck up their ideas and fast!

The girls are on Half-term holidays now - so I'll try to post a bit more often. Hugs to all out there, especially those with heavy loads to bear. xx

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A day in the life...

There is a great post here on Rhonda's blog about "Selling our brand" which is about Home-making as a "profession" or a way of life.

In the spirit of that, I am sharing the day I have had today. Although I am "at home", I am obviously not sitting on my backside all day watching the television!

So, alarms went off today to wake us up, and I got up to wake the girls at 6.45am. I pottered downstairs at 7am, made a cuppa and turned on the Breakfast news programme. The girls came downstairs and made their breakfasts, and lunches, and then, once all their stuff was ready for school, they turned the channel over to watch part of "One Tree Hill". I drank my tea and did some knitting. Quite a bit of knitting - until about 7.55am when the girls left.

I started on the day properly then! Quick tidy round in the lounge, and a swipe of the kitchen. A quick swipe! I then put on my coat and wellies and went outside at 8.30am to let out the chickens, feed and water them, and check them over generally. This takes about half an hour.

Once I came in again, it is time for another cup of tea, and a slice or two of bacon for my breakfast - the FH has surfaced and he has some too. Time to turn on the computer, check the banks, emails and blogs I check through. By 9.45am I am back outside, booting up the washing machine in the workshop, hanging the last load done yesterday, and having a quick tidy round in the verandah where I hang the washing.

At 10.30 I started cooking the tea - shepherd's pie, cabbage and peas. All cooked and chilling for later. In between that, I get a message that another Governor needs a reference for something, as he has put a note through the door earlier whilst I was outside! I phone him, check my emails and find the form he needs me to fill in has come through, so I make a phone call to the agency that wants it to briefly discuss it, and then I fill it in and email it back. I also print off a copy to sign and send back.

By 11.30, I am preparing some paperwork for tomorrow evening's Governing Body meeting. It takes a while, and then we stop for lunch at 12.30.

After lunch, I slice up a fruit cake I made yesterday and arrange it on a platter. I also wrap another one in clingfilm and write a label with the list of ingredients on it. I stick that on the bottom!

You may have noticed that I haven't got dressed yet!! I am still in the fetching pair of leggings I pulled on when I got up, so I go and have a shower now. I put on some older gym clothes, and start to load up the car. At 2.15pm, I leave the house with spare clothes for later, the cakes, the snacks for the girls, etc, and head off.

First call is the chapel where I leave the cakes, the sliced one for the Harvest Supper refreshments and the whole one for sale in the Auction of produce. I then nip off to the Co-op in town, where I grab some potatoes and cauliflower from the Reduced section, and collide with some very old friends in the car park. We have to chat for a good while to catch up on the news since we last met, and I find out that their daughter is in an interview for a job as we were speaking - I wish her lots of luck! I then leave, at 3.20pm to nip in to see a friend from chapel who I know is going through some tough times. There is just time to have a chat and give her a big hug before I am off again to pick up the girls at 3.35pm, luckily not far away.

The girls get in the car and we head off to gym where we help the Head Coach to finish setting up the gym for the evening's sessions. The girls have a Mug Shot for their "tea" and I catch up with the Head Coach. The other coach arrives, and I get changed to move on, again! Normally I would have stayed and coached but tonight I had a meeting, so I had to leave.

I set off at 5pm to work my way through the evening traffic to a big town about 20 miles away. I arrive at the offices for a 6pm meeting and I am a little early. My colleague from the school arrives and we have a meeting there for an hour and a half. She talks and I take notes. At 7.30pm, I leave that office and call in to Tesco - the EFG has a huge blister lingering from the marathon walk the other weekend, and she needs some special blister plasters, which I eventually find.

Arriving home at 8.20pm, I find the FH here, lighting the fire, but the girls nowhere in sight. I had expected him to fetch them home from gym so I am a little puzzled but then he explains that a friend who also has a daughter at the gym class will bring them all home. Sure enough, they all turn up 5 minutes later.

We are all eating the previously prepared Shepherd's Pie by 8.45pm and then the girls start having bath/shower time. The FH watches "The Body Farm" and I am listening whilst I am typing. Still to do is the washing up and shutting up the chickens for the night - we are very lucky never to have been troubled by foxes here, or this would be too late.

This has been one of those days where I have been constantly on the go, and not at home. Other days are similar, but sometimes I get to spend more time here, when I can do more house work, ironing, etc and some gardening. Yesterday morning I spent all morning cleaning out the chooks and then spraying the shed for red mite again - then I enjoyed some time in the school, doing French conversation with some Y6 children, which was fantastic.

That would have been a better post with some photos, but the camera is still out of action! I can't charge it up because we have lost the power cord so I either wait until I find it, or can buy another one cheaply..haven't found one at the moment..

Saturday, 15 October 2011



Winter preparations

I have just updated the Winter Preparations page with a few more of the things I can cross off the list - we have had the oil tank topped up, I have sorted some candles and matches and torches out, and I found some hot water bottles and bought two. Just have to knit or make some covers for them to make them more cosy to cuddle...

We managed to get a couple of pence per litre off the price of the oil by arranging a delivery jointly with our neighbour who also needed to top up. The company, Goff's of Kings Lynn, also allowed us to apply the OAP discount that the FH is entitled to, to the whole delivery, so I was very pleased, as the neighbour was as well, as he is only in his late 40s, I think!

We haven't had the woodburner alight yet this year, although temperatures are definitely beginning to drop in the early mornings, like now, and in the evenings. I can see it being lit soon, perhaps this weekend. We are still being careful and using rugs and jumpers - there is no point using energy if we are not taking some measures to get warm as well - I see houses where the heat is clearly on and windows are open because it is too hot inside, and people are walking around in the house half naked! What a waste of energy and money....

And with Winter comes Christmas! I am beginning to make more efforts in my preparations for that too. I have plans for some presents - and I even have some presents organised already, which is a relief. I am fully stocked with Christmas cards, wrapping paper and tags, but I may need sellotape! I have one present ready for the YFG as she has mentioned something and I bought it when I saw it. I also have a stash of Tesco Clubcard vouchers, and going by the tally on the receipts, I should be getting a pleasing amount in the next round of vouchers, so they will go towards Christmas too - not necessarily in grocery shopping as I may be able to use some of them for presents in Rewards - I know of at least one subscription to a magazine I can get for one person, and then I will get some cinema tickets for the Christmas holidays too. I have built up the balance a little with the extra vouchers that they have sent me for acquiring bonus points, and taken advantage of an offer to get 500 points on ink cartridges too! I need the ink, so why not get the points too?

I am also planning to reduce the number of chickens I have to reduce the costs of overwintering them whilst they are unproductive. Plans for my life have changed and breeding chickens is no longer a big part of them, so I will be gradually moving the chickens on to new homes, or the freezer, over the next two years, and I don't plan to breed more, or buy more either.

On another topic entirely, it is a bright but chilly morning out there, but as I type I can see a young lady who has turned 12 today, quite literally flying around the estate on a new bike she must have had for her birthday. The huge grin on her face tells me that she is clearly delighted with her birthday gift, and her brother is having a hard time keeping up with her as she pedals like mad! The YFG is going to her birthday tea tonight, so I am sure we will hear all about it. Happy Birthday, T :-)

Taking time for me

As I posted months ago, the doctor had recommended taking time to do something just for me, and I am happy to report that I have been doing just that!

I have knitted two pairs of wristwarmers, and I am now knitting a twirly scarf, which is coming on nicely, but may not be ready for this winter! I have to knit a whole 50g ball of wool into it, and there are only 20 stitches on the needle, so I spend as much time turning as I do knitting.

I have also helped to set up a Knit and Natter group at the chapel which meets fortnightly, so I am able to pop in there for an hour or so, turn off from everyday life and sit and knit and chat with friends - and get some help with my knitting if I get stuck! It is lovely, very relaxing and a bit of an oasis of peace when the rest of the week is busy.

I do get some knitting done at home as well, sitting in bed before I go to sleep, and occasionally when there is something good on the tv.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Pastors' wives

I found this on a pastor's wife's blog - and it is so true! I must remember not to use my husband and children as examples too many times or someone will be trying to get their own back on me before too long... it's a great clip - just click on Play!

Monday, 10 October 2011

One day at a time

I've plodded along through these past few days, taking it all one day at a time!

Thursday was a busy day with the Headteacher's performance management meetings in the morning and then a book sale at the school in the afternoon - lots of books to lug about. Came home and collapsed.

Friday was Knit and Natter at chapel and then gym - the last session I had to run without the Head Coach.

Saturday we were up at 5.45am to get everyone ready as the girls needed to be at the start of a long walk at 7am. They were walking laps of 6 miles to raise money for the Guide unit in the village - the day dawned cold but dry, but the EFG got wet later on. She managed 13 miles, and the YFG did 10. By the time I got home from gymnastics, the EFG was fast asleep on the sofa and the YFG was tucked up in my bed watching a DVD.

Sunday was another very early start, as we loaded up three trios of GPOs and took them over to Peterborough to the showground where the Autumn Show was held. They were penned up early and then we met up with UJ and later with my cousin, and we walked around, did some shopping, chatted with some people we met up with by accident, and had a picnic in the car. The chooks all sold by 1pm, so I collected my share of the profit after the poultry society had taken their cut, and we toddled off home. UJ took the FH with him, and they came straight home whereas the girls and I had to do a little shopping for some tea. We had done some shopping at the show - the EFG chose a beautiful wind chime with a dragon on the top of it. The dragon is jointed and moves gracefully.

And then today - I have been on a Safer Recruitment training course for the whole day. My brain is slightly fried, and I am quite tired from sitting still and lack of fresh air. I am glad I don't sit in a classroom all day any longer...some of the tales we were told today are quite harrowing to imagine, and it has given me a lot of food for thought about how we protect children in schools today. It is a Huge responsibility...

And tomorrow - back to school in the morning and then gym in the afternoon. I am looking forward to some time at home on Wednesday, although I have to attack the red mite problem again. I have bought some Poultry Shield to spray around, as it comes highly recommended. Fingers crossed xx

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Three down

The Head Coach went away last Thursday night, so we have managed three sessions without him so far - just one more to go! Last Friday and Saturday's sessions were OK, but yesterday's was the most challenging as my voice has diminished to such an extent that I have to use a very deep tone to make any noise at all, and that was a surprise for the girls to hear such a deep voice! There were just three of us last night to run the classes, but we did OK, and the girls worked hard. We always run the classes slightly differently when he is not there, as we work co-operatively, rather than doing as we are told by a boss, and so there is a change in the atmosphere. Not that it is bad when he is there, it is just different - I am sure that you will know what I mean - two women running things are going to do things in a different way to one man....I will be glad to have him back on Saturday though, as I have had enough of the responsibility this week, feeling as rough as I do.

The FH had to take the EFG for a routine hospital check yesterday and she saw a new consultant with some different ideas. He thinks she might have some of the symptoms of PCOS, and is also concerned about her insulin levels, so she has to be taken back to the hospital Monday morning before 8am to the ward for a blood test. Hope we get somewhere soon with all of this.

I have booked a holiday for all of us next June half-term - in Yorkshire, on the coast near Bridlington, and I am so looking forward to it. I have had to check with UJ that he is OK to come and house sit here for us whilst we go, and he is fine with that. The holiday home is a log cabin, and looks lovely - two twin bedded rooms, each with an ensuite shower room, and a lovely open plan kitchen/dining area/lounge. Enough room, but not huge. Bridlington is about four hours away, so it won't be an arduous journey, and it is close enough to Filey, Scarborough, Whitby even, that we have lots of places to go - and I am sure that there are loads of things to do in the area. Hopefully in June the weather will be decent - I am going to say "decent" rather than "wonderful" because going on this year's record, it may not be that great, but it should be OK! I have paid the deposit now, so it is all systems SAVE for the rest of the costs!

Today: a couple of meetings at school - 11am and then 1pm. Tomorrow: a meeting with the school inspector at 9.30am for a couple of hours, and then running a book sale in the afternoon. Fingers crossed that the FH's foot is OK today so that he is able to do the piano lesson run tomorrow; he had to go to the nurse yesterday for some acupuncture for gout in his toe! Seems to have worked but he is going back next week for a top up appointment.

Off to get started on the day now that the honey and hot lemon drink has done some good.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Positives and challenges...

Sounds better than Ups and downs!

The positives are that we raised £133 for Macmillan at the coffee morning - so I am very grateful for everyone who supported us.

The challenge is that I have come down with an absolute stinker of a cold, with sore throat, runny nose/blocked nose (it alternates!) and a temperature....but with the Head Coach on holiday, I still have to run the gym club this week, so I am feeling a bit sorry for myself.

I am going to iron just the bits of uniform that the girls need for tomorrow and then I am off to bed to watch Downton Abbey. Hope you are healthier than me tonight!!